How Martial Arts Kept Anderson Silva Off The Streets

For the past 14 years, Anderson “Braddock” Silva has been recognized as one of the most ferocious strikers on the planet with a resume that reads like a who’s who of kickboxing royalty.

That reputation has followed the Brazilian to ONE Championship. In April, he made quite an impression in his promotional debut, as he knocked out four-time Kickboxing World Champion Andre “The Giant” Meunier in 74 seconds.

Now, the 32-year-old will look to replicate that magical performance at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST, which emanates from the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China on Saturday, 15 June.

Before he faces Dutch-Moroccan powerhouse Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez in a ONE Super Series kickboxing encounter, take this opportunity to learn a little more about the light heavyweight knockout artist.

Forged On The Streets

Born in August 1986, Silva grew up with a loving father, mother, and two brothers in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Like many families in the South American metropolis, his parents struggled to make ends meet. Despite the financial hardship, “Braddock” enjoyed a happy life at home.

“I had a normal childhood for the time,” he offers. “My relationship with my parents was always great.”

Silva, however, was quite an aggressive youth outside of his loving household. In fact, he frequently engaged in brawls with kids at school and on the streets.

“My childhood did not address me to be who I am today,” he continues. “I was fighting almost every day on the street, but it brought me to [contact sports].”

A Call From A Friend

In order to help his parents financially, Silva picked up a job when he was just 12 years old.

Coincidentally, that was also when “Braddock” received a call from a friend who invited him to train at a martial arts academy.

It seemed like the perfect outlet for all the aggression Silva was letting loose at school and on the streets. Unfortunately, his mother and father could not afford to pay for the lessons.

“I was always into the fight movies,” he admits. “But my family was very poor and could not pay for my training.”

That didn’t demotivate “Braddock,” however. He still found a way to train alongside his friend and soon, he fell in love with martial arts.

“When I entered the gym for the first time, I had no idea what kickboxing was. I just knew it was a fighting sport,” he explains.

“I started like everyone — I learned the basic things, and when the sparring contests started, I just really [connected with it]. It was what I needed in my life.”

By the time Silva was 18, he was a national kickboxing champion. However, in order to take his burgeoning career to the next level, “Braddock” knew he had to leave Brazil and sharpen his skills elsewhere.

A Sacrifice Worth Making

When Silva was looking to branch out in his career, Europe was the hotbed for kickboxing, as many of the sport’s top gyms were scattered throughout Holland.

If the Brazilian was going to become a World Champion, then he needed to train alongside the same level of athletes whom he could potentially face inside the ring.

At just 19 years old, he packed up his belongings and traveled halfway across the globe so he could begin training in the Netherlands.

“My biggest difficulty was undoubtedly when I left my family and everything I had to go to Holland to try and become one of the best in the world,” he says. “I went through need and hunger, but I did not deviate from my goal.”

As tough as it was to leave his family and go to Europe with little more than what he could carry in a bag, Silva knew it was exactly what he needed in order to find true success in kickboxing.

“I think the obstacles in our lives are there to teach us to never give up,” he adds. “And if you fall, get up and keep fighting.”

Eyes On Two Belts

Kickboxing can be an unforgiving sport, especially for a teenager still evolving as an athlete and growing as an individual.

However, Silva knew the only way he could learn how to swim was to jump in the deep end with the sharks all around him.

“Braddock” never shied away from a challenge, and he earned one of the biggest victories in his young career when he knocked out Stefan “Blitz” Leko back in October 2009. Leko was a two-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion with a long list of accolades decorating his resume.

That victory helped set the stage for the next decade of Silva’s career. He continued to build a reputation for his incredible knockout power and wicked kicks, which have decimated opponents throughout the years.

Now, Silva has his eye on a couple of prizes.

The Brazilian wants to capture a pair of ONE World Titles, and if he can defeat Khbabez in Shanghai, he will undoubtedly be the frontrunner for the gold in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.

“It will happen,” he says. “Now with my second fight in ONE, my goal is to become the best in the two main divisions and have both belts. But first, I want to be happy in the ring or in the cage.”

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