Rico Lewis up for Man City fight after practising Thai Boxing from age of FOUR under ex-British champion dad’s tutelage
RICO LEWIS is one Manchester City player who will definitely be up for the fight in the weeks ahead.
Pep Guardiola questioned this week whether his squad are in the right frame of mind for a title scrap with Arsenal in the second half of the season.
Yet he knows he can count on 18-year-old sensation Lewis — who grew up practising Thai Boxing from the age of four under the tutelage of his former British lightweight champion dad.
Lewis said: “That was just something I did when I was a bit younger. It probably helped me a lot with balance and agility and stuff like that.
“My dad never did anything to do with football but now he is involved in it and he loves it just as much as I do now.”
His dad is known as ‘Ku Rick’ at the Phoenix Muay Thai Boxing gym he runs on the outskirts of Manchester — and says young Rico was ‘amazing’ at Muay Thai in his early years before football took centre stage.
Maybe Tottenham midfielder Pierre Emile Hojbjerg did not realise — as he seemed determined to kick the youngster out of Thursday night’s game.
Lewis said: “He just kept telling me he wasn’t meaning to do it — whatever that means. I didn’t really take much notice.
“Every time he’d say that. It didn’t really make much sense.”
Guardiola once again showed his faith in Lewis by picking him ahead of Kyle Walker for the crucial 4-2 win over Spurs.
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He repaid that faith with a typical all-action display — while his superb block on the line from Ivan Perisic’s shot turned out to be a pivotal moment.
City’s former Under- 18s skipper could not have envisaged at the start of the season he would be regularly keeping Walker out of the starting XI.
But he says the England full-back has been a mentor to him, adding: “We’ve had talks about stuff and been pretty open about everything that happens between us like selection and things like that. I get on really well with him.”
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