TWO Wigan martial arts experts have floored the opposition to land places in their sport’s hall of fame.
Zak Brindle and Russ Jarmesty have been picked to appear in the Martial Arts Illustrated list of top athletes in their field in the Fighter of the Year category.
This comes just weeks after Zak, 21, clinched gold at the World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKC) Championships in Dublin.
Russ, who owns the Jarmesty Martial Arts Academy in Atherton where they both train, said: “Zak is on a roll. This is such an incredible achievement for him especially after winning the world championships. He was so thrilled when he got the letter to say he had been picked as one of the world’s best. It has given him a huge boost of confidence which is amazing to see.
“It’s topped off a cracking year for him.”
Zak added: “It’s definitely given me the taste to carry on competing and hopefully I will be able to win a gold again.”
And for the third year in a row, Russ also figures in the Hall of Fame.
The 38-year-old martial arts expert is also world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno’s preferred go-to man when he attends events in the North West.
He was hired to stand by the former boxer’s side as his security in case things turned nasty at a recent appearance at Eccles Boxing School.
Russ earned his place in the martial arts pantheon for his expertise as he has been involved in the sport since being a teenager.
He said: “My martial arts fire was lit by my dad, who was a judo boy. As a teenager my mother lived with one of his close friends, Trev, who was also a doorman.
“Trev used to visit, and sometimes they’d take me to his pub, and I loved too listen to his door stories.
“He’s such a nice warm funny and family-oriented gent and he can sing too, but you would wouldn’t want to take liberties with him or his friends.
“He wasn’t the first person I trained with, I started in karate first, but after a few years I needed more experience so it was only natural to find him again. I love my job now and am so honoured to be listed in the Hall of Fame again.”