Jade Jones claimed GB Taekwondo’s first gold medal of the World Grand Prix in Rome and admitted she relished fighting in the outdoor arena.
The double Olympic champion beat Spaniard, Marta Calvo Gomez, younger sister of one-time nemesis, Eva Calvo Gomez, 14-12 in the -57kg final at the Forco ltalico arena.
Flint fighter Jones said: “I don’t get overwhelmed by much, but I was in awe of it.
“It was amazing, quirky and felt like going back in time to the Gladiators.
“The stadium was roaring and shouting for me. It was an incredible experience.
“I remember seeing the medal and thinking “I want that medal and I want that gold.”
Jones beat Russia’s Tatiana Kudashova 21-16 in the semi-final before renewing a rivalry with the latest member of the Gomez clan.
The 25-year-old added: “I remember the first time I fought her my mum said, ‘Heck, not another Gomez sister’.
“But it’s great to have that rivalry and she is good fighter. It was a good battle because she came at me.
“And when you win with such fine margins it makes it so much better.”
Jones, who struck European gold last month, added: “I have started enjoying myself again.
“You go through phases when you are expected to win and you get a little scared of losing. Now, I am thriving off it again and it showed.”
Jones’ close friend and training partner Bianca Walkden took bronze after just missing a place in the +67kg final, beaten 15-13 by Poland’s Aleksandra Kowalczuk.
The Liverpool fighter had been beaten by the same opponent at the Europeans.