It is hard to imagine that Singtongnoi Por Telakun’s incredible Muay Thai career started 14 years ago.
The 39-year-old returns to face Kohei Kodera – better known as “Momotaro” – at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 6 September.
A Lumpinee Stadium and WMC Muay Thai World Champion, Singtongnoi is widely regarded as a legend in “the art of eight limbs.”
The Thai native first got into competitive Muay Thai as a way to lift his family out from poverty. He compiled an impressive 221-81 professional record and even received a Rajadamnern Stadium Fighter Of The Year Award.
Despite his success, he never forgot his humble beginnings in the Northeastern Thailand province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
“Muay Thai changed my life. It has given me and my family so much,” Singtongnoi shared.
Now that he can provide for himself and his family, the Evolve MMA representative has turned his attention to his community.
“Giving back is part of the sport, and now it is my turn,” he said. “I am working together with my old gym boss, Mr. Telakun, and I’ve been promoting Muay Thai fights in my [province].”
Singtongnoi also stepped in to fund local competitions in Isan – the Northeast region of Thailand that many Muay Thai practitioners come from.
His investment helps pay for the venues, permits, referees, and matchmakers.
Singtongnoi believes his efforts are just a means to give aspiring talent a platform to pursue Muay Thai and help their families, just like he did.
“I just want to create something fun for the community that everyone can get involved in,” Singtongnoi explained. “It is important to give them a stage where they can grow and develop. It is part of their evolution as fighters.”
In many ways, Singtongnoi helps to support the vibrant grassroots economy in Isan, which supplies the talent necessary for the country’s sport to flourish on the international level.
The ONE Super Series flyweight star enjoys the local competition and uses his eye for talent to help his old team scout for potential candidates.
“I love watching the [athletes], they really go for it. They just love it, and they are exciting,” Singtongnoi remarked. “My gym did so much for me, so I want to help them.”
A household name, Singtongnoi’s own success is a tale of inspiration for many of the younger Muay Thai athletes that they, too, can compete on the global stage for martial arts.
Returning to Isan to help the local community, it feels like Muay Thai has come full circle for Singtongnoi. And, for all the good he has gained from the “the art of eight limbs,” he wishes to help others achieve the same so they can grow their national sport together.
“When I retired, I wanted to come back into the Muay Thai community, so this is a way to stay connected,” Singtongnoi said. “I miss all my friends, so it is great to get to be with them and the Muay Thai community. It makes me really happy.”
ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, takes place on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Watch the main card on Toggle at 9:30pm SGT. At 10:00pm SGT, Channel 5 will cut to the live broadcast.
To view the preliminary card, go to ONE’s Facebook and Twitter pages at 6:30pm SGT.
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