Since childhood, Brice “The Truck” Delval has dedicated his life to becoming the best in the world in Muay Thai.
At ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, the Algerian athlete has the chance to fulfill his dream when he challenges living legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship.
The 20-year-old phenom may be young, but he has sacrificed everything – family, friends, and education – in pursuit of his goal.
Before he makes his ONE Super Series debut this Friday, 6 September, the representative of Mahmoudi Gym reveals how he emerged from life on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean to reach a main event match on the global stage for martial arts.
Big Dreams, Big Sacrifices
Delval was born in Nice, France, but grew up on the remote African island of Reunion, off the coast of Madagascar.
He was full of energy as a child, so he was encouraged by his parents to channel his energy into boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai.
Delval traveled to Thailand to have his first Muay Thai bout when he was 12. He knew right away that he wanted to become a professional, so he left school to pursue his competitive career full-time, and focused all his attention on training.
“I didn’t grow up like normal kids. I left Reunion to come to France, to develop my boxing. I had only a few friends, I didn’t go out a lot, because I knew what I wanted,” says “The Truck.”
“While my friends were partying all night, I was at home, resting in preparation for the next day’s training.”
At the tender age of 13, he made the monumental decision to leave the island where he was raised and move to Paris to train at the Mahmoudi Gym, which he had been following on social media networks.
It was painful leaving his parents and younger brothers behind, but he knew he had made the right decision.
Second Home & Second Family
Delval has found a second home in Bonneuil-sur-Marne in the suburbs of Paris at the Mahmoudi Gym.
The training facility is also home to ONE Super Series competitor Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi, who has become “like a brother” to “The Truck,” and the rest of the team are much more than just coaches and training partners, too.
“Mahmoudi Gym is like a second family. The two coaches, Mamar and Nordine, are like uncles to me,” he says.
“Since I was young, Elias and I have fought together all around the world. We’ve been to Japan, the USA, England, Belgium, The Netherlands. I’ve really traveled around the world with him. I also did almost all my training in Thailand with him, too.”
His single-minded focus and dedication – allied with the support from his team – soon paid off.
Within a year of moving to Paris, Delval claimed his first World Title at an amateur event in the United States, which gave him even more motivation to push toward the top of the professional game.
By the time he was 17, Brice was crowned S-1 World Champion, and he has since continued to establish himself as one of the best Western nak muay in the world, with an outstanding professional record of 33 wins against just five losses.
He may be an intense competitor in the ring, but away from the spotlight “The Truck” is camera-shy, humble, and devoted to his family.
Delval’s main motivation to compete is to help his family back home, and that is one of the things that keeps him going through the hard practice sessions. No matter how far away he is from them when he travels to compete, they are always on his mind.
“I represent my parents’ countries of origin, France and Algeria, and I’m proud to represent my two countries,” he adds.
“To me, family is the most important thing. Without them, you can’t succeed. They’re the only people I’m fighting for.
“I fight for my mother – to make her proud and be able to provide her a good, stable future.”
The 20-year-old also wants to set an example through his career – both to show his younger brothers the path to success, and his own children when he starts a family.
“For me, I’m a model for my little brothers. I must be a good person for them, so they can see that life is hard, and it’s necessary to work to succeed,” he says.
“It’s important to me to have kids,” Delval adds. “I wish I could raise them in a world of peace, and equality, and not a world like nowadays, where everybody is focused on material and trivial things.”
A Chance To Make History
Delval’s success around the world has taken him to the world’s largest martial arts organization and thrust him into a battle for his sport’s top prize.
“I’m proud to say that I fight for the world’s biggest Muay Thai organization. I hope to become the best in my weight class,” he says.
“I hope that in five years, I’ll be known in ONE Championship. What makes me confident is my faith in my sacrifice, and the coaches on my side.”
Many athletes his age would be daunted by an all-time great with 259 wins on his record, but “The Truck” is cool and composed in the face of his challenge.
The 20-year-old believes his youth will be an advantage against Nong-O, and that he also has the height and reach to send shockwaves around the world of “the art of eight limbs” this Friday.
“For my first fight in ONE Championship, to fight for the belt is a huge challenge, but I’m quite relaxed, and I’m proud to fight for this World Title,” Delval says.
Ho Chi Minh City | 6 September | 5.30PM | ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneimmortal19