‘I Feel Like I’m In A Dream Sometimes’ – ONE World Title Challenger Alex Roberts Is Living His Best Life
Alex “The Viking” Roberts is living proof that it’s never too late to start working toward your dreams.
The Australian slugger was in his mid-20s when he began training in Muay Thai. Ten years later, he’s set to face Ukrainian superstar Roman Kryklia for the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video.
Despite his delayed start in martial arts, Roberts will compete in the main event in U.S. primetime on Friday, December 8 – proving that passion and tenacity are the key factors to success.
Find out about “The Viking’s” road to a ONE World Title shot ahead of his promotional debut at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Childhood Dreams In Western Australia
Roberts was born in Perth, Western Australia, where he grew up in a town called Walliston.
He was an active kid, and with Australian rules football big in that part of the country, the sport became an outlet for his youthful energy:
“I was just a regular kid growing up in the suburbs with my parents and three sisters. I had a pretty normal childhood playing football and, you know, a few blues (fights) here and there. So, I was naturally pretty good at that.”
Although he had a solid home life, Roberts struggled with school initially and spent more time out of the class than in it.
He wanted to pursue martial arts after falling in love with the big action movie heroes of the 1990s, but due to his behavior, his parents didn’t let him follow that path.
“I think I started pretty early watching Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. ‘Kickboxer’ and all these sorts of things. It was just the way I grew up and the influences that I had. I watched too many action movies at a very young age, and that was exactly what I wanted to be like.
“I wanted to do it as a kid, but my parents put me into one or two classes, and they thought, ‘This is actually bad. We’re giving him more weapons here.’ Because I spent all of my time in front of the principal’s office in primary school.
“So, they took me out pretty quick and just kept me in the regular sports.”
Falling In Love With ‘The Art Of Eight Limbs’
Roberts stuck with Australian rule football throughout his teens and early 20s, and although it was never going to be a career for him, it was a good way to stay active.
However, it still wasn’t enough to stop him from getting into some scraps. Now an adult and in charge of his own decisions, he decided to make a belated start in combat sports to curb his inclination toward negative behavior.
“At 24, just playing around, I started Muay Thai. I was probably just getting into a bit too much trouble out and about. I felt like this was a sport that I could be very good at, and it’s a great outlet to get some of that young male ego out of the system.
“I went into the gym, and as soon as I walked into Synergy and Thai Boxing Pit, it was love at first sight.
“I went into the boxing class first before the Muay Thai, and there were ten-punch combos going on. Then I looked over to the other side and saw Blair Smith and the boys just going hard with the kick, knee, elbow. It was a bit more brutal and a little bit more simple, and I thought, ‘That style is the one for me.’”
“The Viking” quickly realized that competition was on the agenda.
While many people are happy to train for fitness and learn some new skills, something was burning inside of him, which meant fighting in the ring was inevitable.
“Straight away, I knew I wanted to be a fighter. I wanted to get in the ring and test myself. It’s something that is very primal – some men just have that want to compete.
“I love competing, and I love competing against the best. There’s no better feeling in the world than winning.”
Although his parents hadn’t allowed him to train in martial arts as a child, they saw his total commitment to Muay Thai.
They are now proud to support his professional journey – even if seeing the action in person is a bit too close for comfort.
“My family all thought it was a pretty natural progression. My parents were a little bit worried about me. They still are. So, they don’t actually come to the flights because they can’t bear to see it.
“But they’re always there supporting at home. My sisters and the rest of my family have all been great. They come to every fight.”
Opening Up ‘The Fight Physio’
While he was building himself into a World Champion athlete, Roberts was also working toward a career as a physiotherapist.
He would eventually open a clinic known as “The Fight Physio.” After years of taking knocks and dealing with ailments, he now helps himself and others stay in the best shape possible for action inside the ring.
The 34-year-old said:
“I’ve pretty much injured everything there is to injure on the body before, just because I’m pretty much an ‘all or nothing’ sort of guy. If we’re going to do something and do it properly, we train hard and fight hard. That just kind of leads to injury sometimes. So, I thought I should learn how to fix them.”
Juggling his clinic alongside his competitive Muay Thai career isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding.
While Roberts will never stop lacing up the gloves for as long as he’s able, he knows he can implement his knowledge into his preparation for fight night:
“I’ve set up life pretty good. I start early at 6 a.m. Work for three hours, train for two hours in the morning, work for another three or four hours, eat some food, then go to training again in the evening for three hours.
“It doesn’t leave much spare time to do other things during the week. But it’s got me to where I am, and I’m pretty stoked with it.
“Not once [have I thought about stopping fighting just to do physiotherapy]. If I didn’t have that, that’d definitely be a massive, massive hole in my life.”
Working His Way To The Top
Roberts’ dedication to combat sports has seen him achieve almost unprecedented success for a man who started late compared to his peers.
After working his way up from regional, state, national, and then international accolades, “The Viking” won the WBC Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title this past October.
It took him 10 years to reach that point, but then things went into overdrive. Just weeks after the biggest win of his career, he got the call from ONE to join the world’s largest martial arts organization and go for gold in his promotional debut.
Looking back at the rapid chain of events, he said:
“That was a dream come true [to win the World Title]. That was an amazing fight with a great champion like Lyndon [Knowles].
“That has obviously led to this opportunity. I couldn’t be happier with where my life is going at the moment. I feel like I’m in a dream sometimes.”
Fit and raring to go again, Roberts can’t wait to compete against one of the best pound-for-pound strikers on the planet in Kryklia.
The Ukrainian has been unstoppable since joining ONE in 2019 – winning a World Title in the light heavyweight kickboxing division – but “The Viking” is ready to meet him in the middle and accomplish another massive career goal.
“I’m still very, very fit from the last fight since it was only a month ago. I’m always fit, always ready. So, I thought, ‘This is perfect.’ We’ll get one more in before the year is over and come home with a nice bonus for Christmas.
“I want to go out there and win this belt, then defend it. I would love to just fight in ONE and completely clear out the division and then retire on top.”