A YORK teenager has become a three-time kickboxing world champion.

Lauren Greenwood, 17, won gold in Orlando, following on from the previous year where she won two world titles in Ireland.

The York College student started kickboxing at eight-years-old, but didn't fight competitively until after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Lauren, who trains at the X Martial Arts School in Acomb, said: "I was a bit on edge fighting against an American because the shouting from the crowd was so loud.

"So, to win the final and become a three-time world champion, was a massive moment."

York Press: Lauren winning the World Championships in OrlandoLauren winning the World Championships in Orlando (Image: Supplied)

Alongside her competition success, Lauren says kickboxing has also helped her with body confidence, a respectful personality and a "psychological release" at key moments in her life.

Discussing her reasons for taking up the sport, she said: "I really struggled with my weight when I was younger and I used to just put it down to natural chubbiness as a child, but my Mum wanted me to get into a sport.

"I tried football and other things, but I couldn’t get into them.

"Then, my sister’s boyfriend at the time joined a club as an instructor and it was suggested that I go along with him and, because he was my sister’s boyfriend, I felt a bit of pressure to stick at it. But, then, I found I couldn’t keep away.

"I also began to realise that, when I was going through mental-health problems, I was going to kickboxing; when I was going though problems at school, I was going to kickboxing and, when I was going through problems at home, I was going to kickboxing.


"It was my help. If you’ve had a rubbish day, punching and kicking some pads does get that out of you a bit. 

"I’ve learned a lot about respect, too, through the sport. You bow to everybody – the mats, the coach, the ref and your opponent and it has made me a more mature person.

"Kickboxing has also given me the mentality that you can accomplish stuff if you keep on doing it. I almost live at the club, but I just love it because it’s such a good environment."

Having been accustomed to laying down the law in a sporting arena, Lauren is now hoping that the Level Three Uniformed Protective Services course she is studying at York College can help her land a job with the police.

Lauren will be continuing her studies at York College, which includes criminology and psychology.