Features

How Mohammed Bin Mahmoud Found Independence Through Muay Thai

March 22, 2019

Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud will hoist the Malaysian flag high as he aims to earn a marquee win for his nation at ONE: A NEW ERA.

The exciting Muay Thai stylist made a name for himself in ONE Championship last December with a stunning debut knockout in front of his compatriots that showed he was ready for the global stage for martial arts.

In his next match, he is confident of another spectacular finish when he takes on Panicos Yusuf in a ONE Super Series bantamweight Muay Thai bout in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.

However just a few years ago, this opportunity would have seemed like a pipedream for the 22-year-old.

Ahead of the biggest match-up of his life, learn how a passive teen with no direction in his life became the all-action “Jordan Boy.”

A Mischievous Kid

The second of four siblings was not the most outgoing kid growing up in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

As a youngster, “Jordan Boy” was shy and struggled to make friends. Sometimes, his awkwardness would lead him into trouble.

“As a kid, I’d get into fights too often. It became ‘normal’ because that’s how I thought it was – we play and we fight,” he recalls.

“I had a couple of friends, but I couldn’t get along with the rest of the kids. But once a stranger became my friend, they knew they had a best friend in me. Otherwise, it often ended up in a very wrong way – something I wish I could have changed.”

Mohammed’s life at home was hardly much better. He was indifferent to helping out with chores and doing his homework from school. He was just drifting through life.

“I was lazy. Even until I was a teenager, I just would go to school, come home and watch television, and continue sleeping,” he admits.

However, his laziness eventually led him to discover his salvation, when he saw Muay Thai on The Contender Asia 2 television series.

Introduction To The Art Of Eight Limbs

As a 16-year-old, “Jordan Boy” was impressed by how Faizal “Golden Elbow” Ramli – recognized by many as the first and best Muay Thai athlete to emerge from Malaysia – reached great heights through the sport.

“Seeing him training made me eager to pick up the sport,” Mohammed reveals.

“What he did was unbelievable, and to be on television through martial arts, it was just… wow!

“He was the first Malaysian to represent the country on an international stage. That was a huge achievement, and I immediately told myself I want to be like him one day.”

His dad, Mahmoud, was strictly against it, but a year later, Mohammed persuaded him into taking him to a martial arts gym under false pretenses.

“I told my dad I wanted to join a gym, and he was excited about it because I’m normally lazy and would not do something out of my means,” he says.

“He was so excited that he even wanted to drive me to the gym and check it out himself.”

Mahmoud was under the impression his son was talking about a bodybuilding gym and was shocked when he discovered Sampuri Muay Thai. However, that gym changed his son’s life.

A Star In The Making

Mohammed trained hard for five days a week, and his coaches Zariman and Zarimi Bin Mohd Yusof pushed him by throwing him in with tough sparring partners when he learned how to compete.

The youngster impressed them with his spirit and natural ability in the art of eight limbs. After just six months, he got the chance to test his skills in the ring for the first time.

The Kedah-born athlete did not accept the bout because of a promise to his dad that he would not put himself in danger, but after a week of pleading, his father allowed him to go ahead because of his commitment to his new art.

Mohammed claimed victory via head-kick in his amateur debut at Stadium Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur, and “Jordan Boy” was born.

“I was so excited and just started doing a weird dance in the ring. I then looked at my dad and said, ‘Thank you for supporting me,’” he remembers.

“It wasn’t easy at the start. I’d compete in a lot of matches, but the pay wasn’t good.

“It didn’t matter much as I loved the sport. I just wanted to compete and gain more experience because I knew that would lead me on to a greater career.”

Despite his difficulties, Mohammed kept at it and earned 30 professional wins in just five years, which brought him eight championship belts, including the MuayFight Featherweight Championship.

His dedication paid off last year, when his dad – now his manager – showed him a message inviting him to compete in ONE Super Series.

“I just started running around my house. That day changed my life,” he recalls.

Total Transformation

Just months before he sealed his deal at The Home of Martial Arts, Mohammed told his parents that he wanted to move out of their 900 square-foot flat in Ampang.

The house had only three rooms and was getting too small for a family of six, so he felt it was time to leave the nest.

Thanks to his success in his sport, the bantamweight contender could stand on his own two feet, and he had the means to repay his parents for the support they had given them throughout his life.

“My dad was hesitant to let me move out, but I convinced him to let me and [brother] Nidal split the cost between us. Three rooms for six people who are growing up is tight,” he admits.

“Muay Thai changed me a lot. I was the laziest person I’ve ever met, but today I wake up knowing that I’ll have something to fight for. I also help my parents more often whenever I can.”

“When I won my first match, I gave some of my winnings to my parents because they have been there for me since day one. I wouldn’t be here without their support and blessing.”

“Jordan Boy” has many challenges ahead of him – not least a bout against two-time Muay Thai World Champion Yusuf next Sunday, March 31 – but he is now equipped to take them on.

Now a dedicated member of the world’s largest martial arts organization, he is confident of claiming the biggest win of his career and making his family – and his country – proud.

Tokyo | 31 March | 3:30PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/oneera19