How Pongsiri Mitsatit Won His Parents’ Respect Through Muay Thai

Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit wants everyone in Thailand to see him succeed in his next bout, which is a huge change from his early days in martial arts.

When the Chiang Mai native first started to compete in Muay Thai, he hid his pursuits from his parents, who did not approve of his choice of career.

However, after he proved he had the talent and determination to succeed, he changed their mind, and now he is one of his country’s top mixed martial arts stars – all set to take on the biggest challenge of his career against Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: MASTERS OF FATE this Friday, 8 November.

Mitsatit surprised even himself when he took his first steps in “the art of eight limbs” as a boy. Though the sport was popular in his household, it did not capture his imagination – at first.

“Before, I never even liked to watch Muay Thai,” he recalls.

“My dad would watch the fights on Channel 7, and I wasn’t interested at all, but once I started training, and then fighting, I fell in love with the sport.”

When Mitsatit’s competitive aspirations finally kicked in, his parents were not so thrilled. Despite his interest in the athletes on TV, his father forbade him from stepping over the ropes.

That did not stop him from following his heart, finding matches, and pulling on the gloves, though

“I asked my dad if I could fight, and he said no,” Mitsatit says.

“He didn’t want me to get hurt. He told me to focus on something better as a career, but I went out and fought anyway.”

It was not hard for Mitsatit to hide his Muay Thai pursuits from his parents because he left home at a young age to live and go to school at a local temple.

Over time, however, his parents got wind of their son’s new favorite pastime and came to see what he was involved with. They were not best pleased.

“I was fighting near home and my family came out to watch me,” he says.

“I remember my opponent from that day was 10 kilograms heavier than me. My dad saw my opponent and yelled at me before the fight. He asked why I was fighting someone so much bigger than me, and told me not to do it.

“I told them it would be fine, and I ended up winning the bout on points. I had trained really hard for that fight, but my opponent hadn’t.”

“The Smiling Assassin” was exceptionally industrious and dedicated to Muay Thai, and his hard work paid off as he continued to build experience on the local scene, and eventually claimed the North Thailand Muay Thai Title.

Eventually, his parents recognized that he could achieve something by doing what he loved, and they accepted that he was doing something that made him happy.

“I just kept fighting, and eventually my dad gave in,” Mitsatit says.

“He saw that I was training hard and really focused. There wasn’t anyone telling me to go running, or anything. I just went out and did it.

“My mom was much more supportive. She said if I really loved it, I should keep fighting. Now my parents are okay with me fighting.”

After he built an impressive 72-17 Muay Thai record, Mitsatit turned his focus to mixed martial arts in pursuit of better opportunities to bring his family out of poverty. He left his home and settled on the tropical island of Phuket, where he trains out of the world-famous Tiger Muay Thai.

He kicked off his new life in his new sport with a knockout win just four days after his 18th birthday, which set the tone for the proceeding years, during which he has recorded 10 wins, including nine by stoppage.

But despite the 23-year-old’s success and reputation as one of the pioneers of Thai mixed martial arts, his mother and father are still have still not appreciated everything he has achieved.

However, that could all change if their son can defeat a former ONE Strawweight World Champion in Manila, Philippines, and jump into contention for a shot at his sport’s ultimate prize.

“They are supportive, but they aren’t really involved in my career,” he says.

“Since I started mixed martial arts, my parents have never seen me fight. I’ll wait until I fight for a World Title, and then bring them down!”

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