‘I Will Be The USA Guy’ – Asa Ten Pow Wants To Be At The Forefront Of American Muay Thai
This Friday, October 21, Asa Ten Pow will become the first United States-born male athlete to compete in ONE Championship’s Muay Thai rule set.
Ten Pow will bring a wealth of elite competition experience into his bantamweight bout with Mehdi Zatout at ONE on Prime Video 3 as he seeks to become the torchbearer for American strikers on the international stage.
The highly touted newcomer recently spoke about his long journey to the world’s largest martial arts organization and what this massive opportunity means to him.
An Early Start
“The American Ninja” is a true lifelong martial artist.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Ten Pow was an undersized child, prompting his parents to enroll him in karate classes at just 5 years old.
He told ONEFC.com:
“In the beginning, the doctors were saying I was going to be not big and not healthy, or something like that. And my mom was like, ‘Well, I don’t want him getting bullied and picked on, so we’re going to put him in martial arts.’”
However, Ten Pow’s parents separated shortly after, and the youngster moved to South Florida with his father.
From there, his dad would become the driving force behind a complete commitment to combat sports, as he first enrolled the aspiring athlete in kung fu classes alongside older students.
‘We’re Fighting Adults Now’
Under the close watch of his father – who attended every practice – Ten Pow developed into an incredibly well-versed striker, training in wing chun, praying mantis kung fu, Muay Thai, and boxing.
Then at 17, he found success competing against older opponents – and he hasn’t looked back since.
“The American Ninja” recalled that pivotal moment:
“I guess the first thing was when I was a junior at the IBF World Classic. They said, ‘There’s nobody in here to fight you, you have to go to the adults.’
“And I was like, ‘Okay, alright. So that’s the next step. We’re fighting adults now.’”
At that point, the young Floridian knew he’d be a fighter for the rest of his days.
Because after 12 years of martial arts training – day in and day out – it had become ingrained in Ten Pow’s DNA.
“I won the championship, I was fighting two older men, and then it was kind of like, you know, I’m actually pretty decently good at this, and I’ve done it for so long and I don’t even know how to quit it, to be honest. Like, I don’t know how to. I just continued doing it because it’s been my lifestyle my whole life.”
Something To Prove
When he turned 18, Ten Pow was no longer under the thumb of his father, ordered to train and compete in martial arts constantly.
However, he continued to compete – and competed often. “The American Ninja” fought in practically every rule set imaginable, from point karate to Muay Thai and boxing.
According to Ten Pow, he followed the martial arts path in order to show his father that those countless training sessions weren’t a waste:
“When I got to take the reins over, I think the biggest thing for me was to show my dad that I’m capable of doing it. Like, I can show you what I can do with this. I just was like, I’m going to go fight, I’m going to go compete. I think I’m one of the best. Let’s go out there and prove it.”
‘I Will Be The USA Guy‘
Just days away from his bantamweight Muay Thai showdown with Zatout at ONE on Prime Video 3, Ten Pow sees his debut in ONE Championship as the pinnacle of his career so far.
“This is what I wanted. I built those steps up to be at this level. I tried to do all the prerequisites that I could that I thought you had to do to become the World Champion of the best organization, and I’m glad I’m able to be in it now, and to be able to showcase what I can do, what American fighters can do.”
Now that he’s competing in front of a massive U.S. primetime audience, “The American Ninja” is ready to be the face of elite American striking, paving the way for his countrymen.
“I’ve been trying to be at the forefront of American Muay Thai since 2015. Since I got on the USA team. I was like this is it, I’m going to be the guy. I will be the USA guy, and when they say USA Muay Thai, it’ll be synonymous with Asa Ten Pow.”