When Jamal “Kherow” Yusupov enters the ONE Championship Circle against Samy “AK47” Sana this Friday, 25 December, he won’t be stepping inside alone.
In the previously recorded main event of ONE: COLLISION COURSE II, Yusupov will be carrying memories of the villagers who helped raise him during his youth on a farmstead in Telman, Dagestan.
“In Telman, everyone knew each other. It felt like one big family,” the Russian recalled.
“People in Telman just got on with their lives – kids went to school, while parents worked on a state farm trying to make an honest living.”
But adults weren’t the only ones who had to till the land of the state farm. Even kids did their part, and Yusupov was no different.
“When you live in a village, everyone has a task to do,” he continued. “Mine was looking after the house and our livestock.”
Yusupov and his family got by with just the basics, but the Dagestani felt like it was always enough. He didn’t have the tangibles that many other kids are afforded while growing up, but he owned something more important.
“We had clothes to wear, and we had food to eat. I could not always get stuff that I wanted, like toys or trendy sneakers, but I was part of a big family, and I was happy,” he said.
That family extended beyond the farm fences and into the larger village around him, where he was free to experience his childhood as he saw fit.
“Kids at school got along well and my childhood was fairly carefree. We used to stay outside ’til late and we played on the streets, but there were no criminal gangs and no turf wars,” Yusupov said.
“I know that in big cities like Makhachkala, kids from rival schools used to fight each other, but our village life was very different, with more respect and more peace.”
Yusupov will now take the qualities that his village instilled in him and let them shine on the biggest stage for Muay Thai athletes – ONE Super Series.
Catch Yusupov vs. Sana at the previously recorded ONE: COLLISION COURSE II this Friday, 25 December, by downloading the ONE Super App.
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