Growing up in rural Thailand, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao had to sacrifice his childhood to help his family prosper.
Despite his difficult circumstances, the Thai hero prevailed and became a multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion.
Sam-A, who faces Rocky Ogden for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE this Friday, 28 February, has never forgotten the sacrifices that have helped him lift his family out of poverty.
The Evolve representative’s unbreakable warrior spirit was forged during his childhood in “the art of eight limbs.”
“Even as a kid, I would get to fight and make money. Sometimes, I just wanted to play, but I never could because I had to train after school,” he said.
“All the other kids finished school and would just get to go and play, but I chose this path and had to follow it through.”
To keep pace with the rigorous training schedule, the Buriram native was forced to forgo the typical teenage festivities.
“Sometimes, I would get a little jealous of my friends when I was a teenager,” he confessed.
“They would get to go out to concerts, and I had to go to bed really early. The sacrifices were worth it, and I could always go out after a fight.”
Although Sam-A excelled in competition at temple fairs and local festivals, he was keen to further his career, so he moved to Bangkok in search of better opportunities.
“When I went to Bangkok, it was the hardest for me,” he said. “I was away from my family and it was a brand-new environment.”
Even though it was difficult to adjust, Sam-A never lost sight of his goals as a martial artist.
“This was a big opportunity. I always thought of my wife and kids,” he said.
“I always had to remind myself I was there for work, and that as soon as I fought, I would get to go home for a week. That kept me motivated, and that was something I could rely on.”
The Thai legend’s hard work and perseverance paid off as he earned several prestigious Muay Thai World Titles.
Despite the success and accolades, the now-reigning ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion remains humble and continues to stay motivated so he can give his family the best life possible.
“I see the rewards of my sacrifices, and it always kept me going,” he said.
“I’m working hard, but I don’t have to worry about [my family]. It keeps me motivated to keep working, knowing they have a good life. It gives me happiness.”
Catch Sam-A in action on Friday, 28 February at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The lead card starts on meWATCH at 5:30pm Singapore Standard Time (SGT).
To watch the main card, tune-in to meWATCH at 8:30pm SGT.
Also, Channel 5 will air the main card on a delay at 12:00am SGT on Saturday, 29 February.
Alternatively, download the ONE Super App to catch all the action live and for free.
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