Get To Know: Fabio Pinca

Fabio Pinca (99-23-4) has become one of Europe’s most well-respected Muay Thai competitors. He is a two-time WBC World Muay Thai Champion, and even owns a Rajadamnern Stadium world championship.

Now, the 33-year-old Frenchman is bringing his talents to ONE Championship, where he will look to defeat a living legend in his promotional debut, and definitively make his mark in the world of Muay Thai.

On Friday, 20 April, Pinca will meet four-time Lumpinee Stadium world champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao (255-54-1) at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR. The event takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, and the 67kg catchweight Muay Thai bout will be part of the highly-anticipated ONE Super Series.

With just a few weeks away from the mega show, get to know a little more about the Frenchman himself.

The Formative Years

Born in Lyon, France, to Italian parents, Pinca was like many other kids.

He was not particularly enthusiastic about school, but he did enjoy sports, and tried his hand at various athletic activities including football, basketball, swimming, karate, and eventually, kickboxing.

Pinca’s father was a truck driver, and his mother worked in commerce. Although they were quite busy, they were also immensely supportive of their son, and his endeavors.

“They always tried to point me in a good direction, and make me a good man,” he says.

Although they had moved to France for better opportunities, the Pincas still maintained strong ties with their large family in Italy, and traveled there regularly. This helped a young Fabio maintain his interest in both his heritage, and his culture.

Pinca was also fortunate to have a lifelong training partner. He had a brother two years his senior, with whom he could share his eagerness to be active, and get some hands-on practice as they toyed with martial arts in their free time.

That served to be crucial for his development into an elite combat sports athlete.

The Road To Muay Thai

Most young men need an outlet for their energy. Pinca enjoyed traditional sports enough, but nothing captured his attention quite as much as Muay Thai.

“Slowly, my focus went on to Thai boxing after I saw some Muay Thai bouts on TV,” he admits. “I fell in love with this sport, and wanted to do that.”

This gave him direction. From the age of 15 to the present day, martial arts have allowed him the opportunity to travel the world, better himself, and become a multiple-time world champion.

Pinca’s journey started out at Gym Boxing St Fons under Nasser Kacem, which fortunately happened to be one of Europe’s leading exponents of world-class Nak Muay. Best of all, it was right there in his hometown. He had the benefit of practicing with elite training partners just minutes from his house, and that ultimately served to be a recipe for success.

The Frenchman debuted in 2000, and by 2002, he was a national junior champion. He achieved the same result in the adult division by 2004. Pinca’s lists of accolades kept on growing from there, as did his passion for Muay Thai.

Overcoming A Career-Ending Injury

After 14 years of competition, life inside and outside of the ring had been going well. Pinca was on his way to proving himself as one of the best foreign competitors in the world of Muay Thai.

Then, he received some shocking news, which brought everything to an abrupt halt.

“In 2014, I broke my hand in a match, and needed surgery,” he says. “The doctors told me that my career was finished, and I could not step in a ring again.”

This was hard for him to take. Success in the martial arts was all he had ever known. It was his life’s work. In that moment when the doctors had prescribed his fate, he admits that it felt like “my world was falling down.”

Pinca would not just accept it, nor would he be defeated. He would prove those doctors wrong.

“In my heart and in my head, I knew that I could compete again,” he says. “One year later, I was back to the gym, and back in the ring. Since then, I have had 14 bouts, 13 wins, one ISKA world title, and one Rajadamnern [Stadium world] title.

“When your heart wants something, you can do miracles.”

A Muay Thai Superstar

Pinca has won many world titles, and is even a two-time WBC World Muay Thai Champion. But also, he has become a star for his Rajadamnern Stadium world championship, which is something few foreign athletes achieve in Thailand, the birthplace of the sport.

Many would have thought it would be impossible for a Frenchman from a small gym in Lyon to pick up the biggest accolades in the sport. However, perseverance was key for him.

“If I have one lesson to share, it is to never give up,” Pinca says. “Follow your heart, and follow your dream, because nothing is impossible.”

The Frenchman has followed that lesson to perfection. He has traveled the world, beat superstars like Saenchai, and has won numerous titles. On 20 April, he finally arrives to ONE, and will attempt to capture his hundredth career victory.