There will be 10 world-class athletes on the bill at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV, and fans are already well-aware of their impressive martial arts accolades.
However, there are plenty of other things that most people don’t know about the stars competing at this previously recorded event, which airs this Friday, 20 November.
Wang’s Shaolin Education
Though “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang is now a world-renowned kickboxer, he started his martial arts journey in kung fu as a child when his father sent him to a Shaolin temple to train in the centuries-old combat style.
“Golden Boy” has since committed his life to training, and he hopes a win over Aslanbek Zikreev in Friday’s main event will put him back on the path toward the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship.
Pucci’s Childhood Ailment
Pucci underwent hormone replacement therapy, which helped with his condition but also made him overweight. But after a doctor advised him to take up a sport, “Puccibull” eventually found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, improved his health, and went on to become a two-time BJJ No-Gi World Champion.
Kwon’s Troubled School Years
While growing up in Daejeon, South Korea, “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il was a troublesome student. He was often involved in fights and even got expelled by his headteacher.
When his parents received the news at school, Kwon’s mother cried. Seeing that, “Pretty Boy” vowed to redeem himself and put his energy into something positive — mixed martial arts.
- What’s At Stake For Every Athlete At ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV
- Wang Junguang Vows ‘Perfect Victory’ In Main Event Clash Vs. Zikreev
- The Top Highlights From ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III
Mazar Asked The Questions
It was never an easy road for Maira Mazar, who worked from the age of 13 to help support herself and her family. At 16, she found sanda and began her martial arts journey, but it did not pay the bills.
So, the Brazilian star worked as a journalist alongside her training and competition schedules. And in 2017, she quit her job to focus fully on mixed martial arts and went on to earn a scholarship with Singapore’s famous Evolve Fight Team.
Takahashi’s Comedy Dream
Many ONE Championship stars had interesting careers before they entered the world’s largest martial arts organization, but Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi could have had the most unique one.
The Japanese athlete wanted to be a comedian. In 2013, he moved to Tokyo and went to the Yoshimoto New Star Creation (NSC) comedy school along with his friend Takuya Emi, and their Japanese-style sketch comedy act, Midi-chlorian.
“Kaitai” later realized he needed to focus on either martial arts or comedy. Luckily for ONE fans, he picked the former.
Ogden’s Teenage Years In Thailand
When Rocky Ogden decided to go all-in on his Muay Thai career, he knew the best way to make it happen would be training at the source.
At only 16 years old, the Australian prodigy tested the waters with a one-month stay in Thailand. Before long, he returned to live in “The Land Of Smiles” for six months at a time.
Ogden became fluent in both “the art of eight limbs” and the Thai language, earning his stripes in the toughest arena his sport has to offer.
Lasiri Considered ‘Too Small’ To Make It
Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri’s first passion was not Muay Thai. Instead, the Italian warrior was in love with “the beautiful game” of soccer as a youngster.
However, Lasiri’s coach told him that he was too small and ended his childhood dream by kicking him off the team.
That lit a fire under “The Hurricane.” Once he found Muay Thai, he focused all of his energy into his new sport so he would not be denied again – and he was vindicated when he won the WBC Muay Thai World Title in 2017.