RELENTLESS Halesowen kickboxer Simon Akufo is the champion of the world for the second time.

In a devastating display of speed and power Akufo had Italian champion Cristian Tronu down three times before the referee stopped the contest 31 seconds into the second round.

The faded grandeur of Birmingham's Q-Club provided the venue for the World Kickboxing Association welterweight world title fight.

Akufo entered the ring flanked by bare chested dancers in African tribal dress complete with shields and spears to wild applause by the partisan crowd.

As soon as the first bell rang both fighters attacked with Tronu using his fists to attempt a quick knock out.

However, the Akufo rode the punches and penetrated with a punch to the ribs Tronu forcing the Italian to go down for the first time.

Immediately Tronu came back with a flurry of punches only to be put on his backside again by a ruthless Akufo who landed with a right punch in the middle of the ring.

The Italian champion looked at his corner in desperation and received the encouragement to get back up again to mount another attack.

He landed on Akufo's chin who withstood the pressure to again produce a bone-crunching punch which saw Tronu floored for the third time.

The bell saved the Italian, who technically should have lost the bout due to being knocked down three times in one round.

Tronu came out for the second like a man given an unexpected chance unleashing a barrage of punches and kicks on Akufo who was pushed back into the corner.

The smaller Italian was punching wildly some landing and some not whilst Akufo covered up and defended. For 30 seconds Tronu attacked but then in a split second Akufo released a right hand that landed plum on his opponent's chin.

Tronu's knees went one way and his body the other and crashed to the canvas. There was no way back and the referee stopped the fight sparking wild celebrations in and outside the ring.

Speaking after the fight Akufo said: "He came to fight and I felt his power but we had trained for this type of fight because we knew he would be aggressive.

"The first round had everything and I knew as soon as he went down the first time I thought I would have the better of him.

"I thought it was fair he was allowed to get to his feet at the end of the first round as we were fighting for a world championship and he should be allowed to show what he has got.

"But after defending his attack I put my training into practice and waited for the opening I knew would come and ended the fight perfectly."

He added: "I have worked so hard since losing against the Russian this time last year.

"I was knocked out in front of every one I knew, and I was gutted not to be world champion anymore so went back and learnt my craft and worked even harder, every day this moment has been on my mind."

He said: "It feels great to be a world champion again."