The martial art Muay Thai – the Art of Eight Limbs – originates from Thailand and Dakota has been fighting from the age of four.
Her mum Lisa Howarth is a coach and former full contact karate world champion. She helped her daughter perfect her skills and techniques but Dakota encountered an unexpected stumbling block. Stage fright.
“I only had two fights when I was younger because I suffered from nerves and I wasn’t very confident,” Dakota explains. “I would get emotional before competitions and I still suffer now but I’ve learned how to deal with it and I have a lot of support.”
With her fears under control, Dakota, from Manchester, won the 2013 Junior World Championship in Turkey.
She says: “Our sport isn’t very well-known and it deserves recognition. Other kids should get the opportunity.”