IT HAS been an incredible journey for one schoolboy who took up martial arts to improve his self-confidence after he suffered stress-related alopecia due to being bullied.

Nine-year-old Shea Williams has won a raft of winning medals since he began competing and this year became a world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The Carr Mill Primary school pupil, who also does MMA and Thai boxing, has also won English, British and European titles for the last three years running.

The youngster, from Moss Bank, trains out of Next Generation gym in Liverpool, as well as Two Brothers and 4 Corner gym and proud mum Zoe has hailed his dedication.

"He’s a very naturally talented young lad but still trains hard two to three hours every night," said Zoe, 37.

"Shea started training to give him confidence because when he was four he was getting bullied.

"The stress made Shea get stress-related alopecia during which he got bald patches the size of 50 pences on his head.

"His dad Michael took him to wrestling and BJJ to build his self esteem and confidence and from then on he loved the sport and excelled ever since he started doing one class.

"Then he asked to try another until he was doing every class the gym had to offer."

Shea, who has two brothers, Luis, 19 and Hugo, three and two sisters, Kaitlyn, 13 and Sophia, eight, has already become accustomed to competing abroad.

Zoe, who says it is Shea's dream to be in the UFC, added: "Shea has travelled the world, he’s wrestled in Germany, competed in America in BJJ and while other kids were eating their Easter eggs Shea was in Thailand doing a three-week MMA training camp.

"He’s just been to Dublin and won the NAGA Grappling tournament and last weekend went to Norway for a Superfight and won that too.

"Shea couldn’t do everything he does without his dad Michael who gives up his time to take him up and down the country and all over the world training and competing, they're best friends.

"It’s lovely to see the relationship they have."