4 Things You Probably Do Not Know About Alain Ngalani

Hulking size aside, Alain “The Panther” Ngalani has become one of the biggest stars in ONE Championship.

The 42-year-old is as joyful as he is powerful, sculpted like a bodybuilder, and dances like Bruno Mars – he’s even won dance competitions. 

Beyond that, he is a four-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing Heavyweight World Champion, who is chasing both ONE Championship and ONE Super Series gold.

On Saturday, 23 June, Ngalani will clash with two-time SUPERKOMBAT Heavyweight World Champion Tarik Khbabez at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in Macau.

Before he steps into the ONE ring for his heavyweight kickboxing tilt, here are four things you might not know about “The Panther.”

#1 He Was Bullied As A Kid

It might be hard to believe due to his imposing figure, but during his childhood in Cameroon, Ngalani did not intimidate anyone.

In fact, he was bullied by some of the larger kids in his elementary school’s cafeteria. One day, they poked fun at him, and snatched his lunch.

“The Panther,” then 6 years old, went home in tears. His mother, however, was unsympathetic. She wanted him to stand up for himself and to defend his own honor. With that in mind, she helped her son to start his martial arts journey, and set destiny in motion.

“Immediately after that day, my mum signed me up for judo classes,” he says.

“I learned the hard way – failing at first, and always being abused and bullied by those bigger than me. But that never deterred me. On the contrary, it fueled me even more, and soon I became one of the best.”

#2 He Will Always Love “The Bodyguard”

Most martial artists are inspired by Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme films, including Ngalani.

However, unlike many of his contemporaries, the colossus was heavily influenced by “The Bodyguard,” a romantic thriller starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.

“When I was a teenager, I watched that movie, and I thought it was the perfect thing,” he admits. “Bodyguards can look good, be cool, and protect others. It was my dream at the time.”

In 1992, when the film was released, Ngalani was a teenager who had already trained extensively in judo, karate, and kickboxing.

Soon, after winning an African heavyweight kickboxing championship, he got his security qualifications, and brought his dream to life. 

Through a highly-successful career, Ngalani escorted countless VIPs, and travelled the world.

#3 He Made The Perfect “Impakt”

After his stint as a bodyguard, Ngalani made his return to kickboxing, and traveled all across the globe again, this time to compete as a professional martial artist.

In 2001, he relocated to Hong Kong and opened his own gym, Impakt MMA. He finally had a steady place to train, as well as a venue to help others achieve their martial arts and fitness goals.

“When we came, people were not used to exercising,” he says. “It was not the trend yet.”

That quickly changed, especially with “The Panther” in town.

Ngalani used martial arts as a way to help people get fit, and that connected with the local community. The gym’s reputation spread, and memberships began to soar. Impakt MMA’s popularity even led to locations in South Africa and Singapore.

#4 He Owns A Wealth Of World Titles 

“The Panther” is one of the most decorated martial artists on the ONE Championship roster.

Throughout the course of his martial arts career, Ngalani has claimed 16 major titles.

In addition to four consecutive Heavyweight Kickboxing Championships of Africa (1998-2001), he captured a Muay Thai World Championship in 2004, a pair of Planet Battle Heavyweight World Championships in 2009 and 2010, and the IKA Super Heavyweight World Championship in 2011.

Also, the hulking phenom won a plethora of provincial titles around the world in various disciplines such as Muay Thai, karate, and sanda.

While Ngalani is proud of his accomplishments, he believes his greatest feats are yet to come.

Now, he aims to add both a ONE Super Series Kickboxing World Championship and the ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship to his collection by the end of 2018.