JIMMY Hawthorn reckons it won’t be too long before they have another world champion in the family.

The legendary 68-year-old coach, who just fell short of gold himself, winning three silvers and three bronzes at either open-age or over-35 world wrestling, already has his 31-year-old son Brett as a World Catch Wrestling champion.

Now Jimmy reckons that it is younger son Tommy’s time.

The 26-year-old from Greengates has just started his second coming as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, and Jimmy is in no doubt as to his potential.

He said: “Brett is fantastically talented, maybe even more so than Tommy, but thinks that he has probably left it a little bit too late for MMA, so is sticking with the grappling.

“But “Tommy’s MMA potential is being a world champion. I am that confident.

“It is his mastery of wrestling and boxing, indeed all four elements including kick-boxing or Thai boxing and ju-jitsu, Brazilian or otherwise.

“But it is also his mental attitude. He is not afraid of anybody, he knows what his limitations are and he knows that he can do the job.”

However, this is not Tommy’s first stab at MMA.

Jimmy explained: “About seven years ago, he did the Commonwealth Games aged 19 in wrestling for Wales (which he qualifies for through grandparents) and he said ‘I don’t want to wrestle any more’, even though he got a full, free scholarship to go to America, which was worth about £33,000 a year, but didn’t want to sit in a classroom for four more years.

“He said that he would do an MMA match, which was an amateur contest at Cedar Court Hotel, and won within a minute, and after that I set him up a programme which he found tough - he was missing going out with his friends, going out at weekends etc, so the MMA was forgotten.

“And then he met a young girl called Jodie and they had a kid together, who is now about four and a lovely little girl.”

Jimmy added: “I did mention to him a while back that he started doing MMA again, as the mixture of wrestling and boxing was perfect for him, and I didn’t really want him to just do boxing.

“He had many offers to go pro at boxing, and he would have been fighting at 76kg, even down to about 70kg. He trains with Pat Cowdell’s son, who is also called Pat and is fantastic, in Otley three times a week at Club Energy.

“Long story short, it was the Christmas before last and Tommy said to me ‘Would you train me again? I want to do MMA’, and I said that I would give him one year and see if he was going to stick with it, and sure enough he did.

“I was more than willing to carry on with the boxing with him, and we found a ju-jitsu guy called Babar, who has his own gym up Wakefield Road, and trains Tommy one on one, and then I asked Alan, from Aireborough Thai Boxing Club, who trains Frankie, my grandson, if he would also train Tommy, and he did.

“We did one year’s training and then Tommy couldn’t fight because of Covid, which was a great time for him to learn Thai boxing and Brazilian ju-jitsu.”

Jimmy explained: “Tommy does his MMA training at AVT in Morley, which is where Danny Mitchell, a UFC fighter, coaches, and he arranged for Tommy to have his first professional fight at Doncaster Dome on March 19, with the pandemic having delayed his debut.

“He was all prepared for it, but I was in Malta, and when I am away something always happens.

“He was grappling with someone a lot heavier, which he shouldn’t have done, and he landed on him and Tommy popped his rib-cage, which is a very painful injury.

“Tommy had a coachload of people going, he had sold about 80 tickets and he said to me: ‘What shall I do dad?’ and I said ‘Knock him out very, very quickly’.

“His opponent had had about 12 fights, and Tommy beat him in 37 seconds. He did a duck under, which is a wrestling move, and got him in a back suplex, tipped him over and grounded and pounded him and it was finished, which was good with his injury.

“Ideally you would have four to six fights a year. However, Tommy has left it a little bit late and he has some catching up to do.

“If he can keep getting fights and beating people in 37 seconds and not getting touched then he needs one every month to get that experience in the ring because whatever you do in training is no substitute for being in a cage.”

In the meantime, Tommy had a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu grappling tournament in Leeds (Empire Grappling) earlier this month at advanced level.

Jimmy said: “Bearing in mind that he is not at advanced level, I thought that it may be a bit too high a level for a first tournament, but he won silver, so I am happy.

“Then on June 4, he is going in for the World Catch Wrestling Championships in Bolton with Brett, who is a world champion.

“Tommy is going in a weight heavier, and then he has his second professional MMA fight on June 25 at Doncaster Dome.”

Jimmy said of Tommy: “He is an accomplished wrestler, he is an accomplished boxer.

“He has had 26 boxing matches and won 25, and the last one was a Prizefighter contest last October of eight people in two groups and the winners fight each other for something like £10,000 and it ended in a draw, and then they did overtime and they gave it to Ty Mitchell, and that is the only one officially that Tommy has lost.

“His boxing is as good as his wrestling, and his wrestling is great.”

As for what scares him more watching his son, MMA or boxing, Jimmy said: “There are no headguards, but I worry more about him getting hurt at boxing than MMA, where the referee will step in immediately if someone is getting a pounding and the match is finished.

“In boxing, you can get knocked down and get a count of nine or ten, sit down at the end of the round, come back out and still get banged.

“That is why I didn’t want him to do boxing.”

Brett also won the Combat Sambo (much like MMA) British Championship in 2021, and has been selected for the World Championships.

He is also taking part in rounds of the Sambo World Cup - a series of four events - in Morocco and Turkmenistan, with the Russian round in Kaliningrad having been cancelled because of the invasion of the Ukraine.

But the sporting dynasty of the Hawthorns does not stop with Jimmy, Brett and Tommy.

There is Simon, Jimmy’s eldest son who began it all by winning a national wrestling title in 1987.

There is also former English under-21 women’s national wrestling champion Katie, who is now a 29-year-old policewoman in the United States in Doylestown, near Cleveland.

Meanwhile, there is her nephew Frankie, from Menston, a thai boxer who is heading to Thailand for a year this summer.

* If anyone is interested in sponsoring Tommy, they can contact him on 07857-959158.”