A FOUR-times World Champion kickboxer from Solihull has bravely returned to the ring and winning ways following a major operation last year.
Yet tragically for 16-year-old Stacey Hawkins, this weekend’s fight could well be her last one, as doctors believe the tough starlet may need yet more surgery on her spine.
In May last year, the Smith’s Wood teenager had an operation to cure an ongoing back problem which required the plucky teen to endure most of the summer in a full body cast. Yet just a few months after recovering from that operation - and going on to win nearly everything in her path - it is looking likely that Stacey will need further surgery.
“Unfortunately this could be her last fight for a year or two at least,” said Stacey’s dad, Barry. “To be honest we were undecided whether to enter Stacey into her fight on Sunday because we’ve had to rush all the preparation.”
Stacey started kickboxing at the age of seven and has trained and competed nearly every day of her life since - up until she had the operation. She was treated to reduce pain caused by spondylolisthesis in her lower back, a condition where there is a gap in the spine.
“Last year I had an operation on my back where they took a piece of bone from my hip and put it in my spine, and I also had metal wiring put in,” said Stacey, who trains three times a week at Tamworth Kickboxing Academy, under the guidance of Lance Manyer. I was in a bright pink full-body cast - I had it on most of the summer and it was horrible.”
Stacey is currently studying sports at Solihull College, fitting her studies around training and fighting all over the world. Despite being injured, Stacey’s sponsors Fazeley Fencing and Solihull Council have stuck by her.