Features

How Petchdam Helped Lift His Family Out Of Poverty Through Muay Thai

April 30, 2019

With his trifecta of entertaining entrances, dynamic dance moves, and spectacular striking ability, “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy is one of ONE Championship’s biggest stars.

Now the 20-year-old has the chance to write his name into martial arts history when he faces Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT.

When he steps out in front of his home fans in the co-main event at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, 10 May, he can complete an incredible rise to the top of his profession after more than a decade of hard work against the odds.

On 10 May, Petchdam looks for his fourth KO in a row to claim the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship!

On 10 May, Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – looks for his fourth KO in a row to claim the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship!Bangkok | 10 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewarriors19

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Ubon Ratchathani native’s path to the global stage for martial arts was far from predetermined, as his potential did not materialize until far later than most Muay Thai prodigies.

Born in a small village in Thailand’s easternmost province, his life was engulfed in poverty.

Petchdam looks back with fondness on some aspects of his childhood like his mother’s home-cooked meals and peaceful days spent at the unspoiled rice fields, but as the youngster started to get older, he started to recognize his desperate circumstances.

“I have two little brothers. [Along with my parents], the five of us lived in a very small one-room cement house. We all slept on the floor together,” he remembers.

“My parents were both rice farmers and didn’t have any supplemental income. We were poor growing up.

“Often, we would forage for our own food, things like bamboo, snails, rats, fish – whatever there was during that time.

“I didn’t have money to go to school or to do anything, and I didn’t want to ask for it from my family.”

Kicks on kicks on kicks from the phenomenal Petchdam!

Kicks on kicks on kicks from the phenomenal Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – ! Bangkok | 10 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewarriors19

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 20, 2019

When he was 8 years old he caught a glimpse of some school-aged Muay Thai practitioners running down the street and thought he’d give it a try. His father, keen on the idea, took him to the gym the following day on the back of their motorcycle.

“My Dad had always loved watching Muay Thai on TV. It was his dream that one day I too would fight on TV,” he explains.

“I am the only member of my family to fight. It was really lucky there was a gym in my village, if not I don’t know where I’d be. The gym was only three miles away, so usually, I would just run there, or ride my bike. Sometimes my dad would take me on his motorcycle.”

After just five days of training, 8-year-old Petchdam was matched up on the spot to compete at a local temple fair. He lost the match on points, and was only paid 250 Baht (about USD$8) – which he spent on shooting games and candy – but the experience ignited a new passion in him.

Petchdam continued to grind it out on the local scene and competed whenever an opportunity presented itself for modest purses.

UNBELIEVABLE power & precision from ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title contender Petchdam!

UNBELIEVABLE power & precision from ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title contender Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – !Bangkok | 10 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewarriors19

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

As he reached adolescence, his dedication waned when friends started to pull him in a different direction, but it did not take long for him to come to his senses because his family was relying on him.

“When I was about 13 years old I quit fighting so that I could hang out with my friends. I was just a kid, I wasn’t thinking right,” he admits.

“I went to watch my friends fight and I realized how much I missed competing. I realized how much I needed Muay Thai in my life and decided to fight again.

“It was a way for me to help my family. Even at a young age, I noticed the financial impact me not fighting had.”

With his career back on track, Petchdam continued to make the rounds on the local scene. He wasn’t the best nor the most talented at his gym, but he stayed dedicated to the craft.

One by one, each of his friends and training partners left to compete in Bangkok, but he would not have to wait long to go to his nation’s capital as well thanks to his role model, Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy.

Petchdam keeps his elbows SHARP.

Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – keeps his elbows SHARP.Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, December 21, 2018

“When Petchmorakot left for Petchyindee, they let me tag along with him and train at the gym during my summer holidays from school,” he explains.

The gym’s bosses had found a diamond in the rough, and soon asked Petchdam to join its roster of athletes. From then on, “The Baby Shark” began to realize his potential.

“I got to train with a lot of high-level fighters, it was fun for me and I got better really fast. Training in Bangkok is so much different than in Isaan. The training is more structured, and always twice a day.”

“Seeing Petchmorakot succeed and the other high-level fighters at the gym really helped motivate me to succeed.”

At 16 years old, Petchdam granted his father’s lifelong dream of seeing his son competing on TV when he fought on the Petchyindee promotion, True4U Muay Thai.

In a few short years after that, he became one of the best practitioners of “the art of eight limbs” on the planet and claimed the WBC Muay Thai World Championship and a Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Title.

Will Petchdam kick his way to the inaugural ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship on 10 May?

Will Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – kick his way to the inaugural ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship on 10 May?Bangkok | 10 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewarriors19

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Through all of his success, the 20-year-old has been able to help his family in more ways than he could have imagined – to give them a better quality of life, grant them opportunities he never had, and set them up for the future.

“I wasn’t a good student at school. I only got as far as grade 9 [the mandatory education level in Thailand], but now through fighting with ONE, I am able to send my brothers to school and hope to later send them to university as well.

“Through fighting, I was also able to buy a car for my family and fix up our house.”

A career in martial arts has already done so much for Thai superstar, but that could be just the tip of the iceberg if he wins gold on the global stage at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT.

A ONE World Title is the ultimate prize in martial arts, and far beyond what this young man could have hoped for when he started running to his gym as a child.

On 10 May in Bangkok, the worlds best strikers take center stage as a pair of ONE Super Series World Title bouts headline ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT!

On 10 May in Bangkok, the worlds best strikers take center stage as a pair of ONE Super Series World Title bouts headline ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT!Bangkok | 10 May | 6:30PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewarriors19

Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, April 28, 2019

“It was my Dad’s dream for me to fight on Thai TV, and now I am a ONE Championship athlete with people watching me all over the world,” he says.

“I’m really proud of myself for making it this far. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be where I am today.”

Bangkok | 10 May | 6:30PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/onewarriors19