‘I Think Of My Family’ – Superlek Draws Strength From Loved Ones During Mental Health Struggles

Superlek Kiatmoo9 Tagir Khalilov ONE Fight Night 12 71

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and with his upcoming role as a main event star at ONE Friday Fights 34 in Bangkok this week, Superlek Kiatmoo9 wants to use his platform to reach anyone who’s suffering. 

The Thai striker will challenge compatriot Rodtang Jitmuangnon for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title on September 22 at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, and given their high-profile matchup, he knows that his words can make an impact.

“The Kicking Machine” also knows that the importance of speaking out is heightened following the tragic loss of ONE Championship referee Watcharin “Paopom” Ratchaniphon this past June.

Ratchaniphon’s death sent shockwaves through the Muay Thai community and stunned both fans and athletes.

Reflecting on “Paopom” taking his own life, Superlek said:

“My condolences to ‘Paopom’s’ family. His death directly affected me. He was friendly referee. He looked at all athletes like they were his brothers. I believe that all Thai athletes are saddened by this loss.”

Ratchanipon’s profile in the sport meant his suicide was felt on a wide scale, but it’s something that affects men and women from all walks of life in societies around the world. 

In fact, Superlek has experienced this on a very personal level, and he wants to remind people that there’s always somebody out there who cares.

He revealed:

“One of my friends tried to commit suicide, but I managed to persuade him to change his mind. I tried to tell him to imagine how sad his parents would be if he died.

“My advice is try to think of the faces of your loved ones, such as your parents or your partner. Especially your parents who gave birth to you and tried their best to raise you.”

Superlek Opens Up On His Own Mental Health Struggles

Anybody can be affected by mental health issues and thoughts of suicide, no matter how successful they appear on the outside.

Superlek – the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion and #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender – is one of the most revered strikers of his generation, but even he has experienced low points that made him go to dark places.

In those instances, he found the thing that made him feel like life was worth living – and that was his loved ones:

“There were times when I thought about suicide. But I could restrain this because I thought of my family that I would have to leave behind.

“Every time I feel depressed, I think of my family. How can they live without me?”


Everybody’s struggles and motivations are different, but Superlek believes the universal factor is that we all have adversity and low points – along with the ability to come through them.

This means there will always be somebody who’s felt the same way and can empathize, so reaching out to talk and share can be an effective way of rising from the depths.

With that in mind, “The Kicking Machine” hopes those who are suffering can seek support from others and not give in to the negative thoughts.

He offered:

“It is normal for you to feel inferior, but there is nobody who’s never faced a struggle in their life. I advise everyone that every problem has a solution. Willpower from family or friends is the most important thing that will get him or her through it.

“Please think carefully and positively. Everyone has their own source of encouragement. Don’t think you don’t have any. I believe you have one or two, but you just overlooked them.”

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