‘It’s Overwhelming’ – How Kongthoranee Went From Humble Beginnings In Thailand To Massive Fights In ONE Championship

Kongthoranee Sor Sommai Jaosuayai Sor Dechapan ONE Friday Fights 84

Surging Thai sensation Kongthoranee Sor Sommai is now in the final preparations for the biggest opportunity of his decorated career.

On June 28 at ONE Friday Fights 68, the 27-year-old will square off with reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 in a flyweight Muay Thai tilt at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Already boasting an impressive 8-1 record at ONE Friday Fights – which recently earned him a six-figure contract to compete on the organization’s global roster – Kongthoranee has established himself as one of Bangkok’s favorite local heroes.

Now, he could achieve global recognition by taking out a true pound-for-pound great in Superlek.

Ahead of that highly anticipated showdown, Kongthoranee spoke to onefc.com about his journey from the Thai countryside to the world’s largest martial arts organization

Raised In The Hills

Kongthoranee was born and raised in the picturesque province of Phetchabun in central Thailand.

Surrounded by mountains and natural beauty, he learned the importance of hard work to put food on the table – mostly without the presence of his parents, who separated when he was a toddler.

He recalled:

“I grew up and was raised by my grandparents since I was 3 years old. My grandfather worked by burning charcoal to sell. They taught me to be humble and respectful of elders.”

Like many other Thais looking for a way out of poverty, Kongthoranee began training Muay Thai at just 3 years old.

It was his family patriarch, he says, who set him on the path toward becoming a world-class striker:

“You could say that my grandfather was my first coach. He trained me to be disciplined and set goals for me.”

Pursuing His Dream Full-Time

Before long, Kongthoranee laced up the gloves and tested himself in competition.

In Thailand, even young fighters are paid for competing, and although he suffered a defeat in his first fight, Kongthoranee knew that if he kept pushing forward, he could change his financial situation:

“I fought for the first time at a local event in Phetchabun. That fight, I lost by knockout. I received a purse of 150 baht (approximately US$4). I’m glad I got the money, but I also wanted to win, so I came back to train harder.”

Despite that early loss, Kongthoranee showed a great deal of promise and began racking up wins around Phetchabun.

He soon caught the eye of trainers in Bangkok, prompting him to relocate to a world-renowned gym and dedicate himself 100 percent to his goal of Muay Thai greatness.

He said:

“A major turning point in my Muay Thai career came at the age of 13 when a prominent figure in the industry, Naa Dang Khao Thrai, invited me to pursue my dreams in the capital city with the Sor Sommai gym.

“It has been over 11 years since then, and I have earned the prestigious titles of Rajadamnern Stadium World Champion in the 122- and 135-pound divisions, as well as the Thai National Champion in the 135-pound division. These titles are a testament to my skills.”

Struggling To Make Ends Meet

Of course, Kongthoranee’s life as a professional fighter hasn’t been without challenges.

Back in 2020, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions forced him out of the ring, leaving him with no way to support himself through Muay Thai.

During those dark times, he nearly walked away from the sport forever:

“My struggle was during the COVID period. I didn’t have any income at all. I had to work for hire. And I even thought it was the end of the road of my fighting career.”

Fortunately, Kongthoranee didn’t hang up his gloves, and his life made a sharp turn for the better when he made his ONE Friday Fights debut in early 2023.

He hasn’t looked back since:

“After COVID, ONE Championship changed my life.”

Targeting Greatness In ONE

Looking back on his hard-scrabble upbringing in rural Thailand, Kongthoranee is still blown away that he’s competing alongside the planet’s best martial artists on ONE’s massive global platform:

“It’s overwhelming – from a country boy who became an athlete for a world-class sports organization.”

Now just days away from his hotly anticipated clash with Superlek, he says he hasn’t yet accomplished his ultimate goal – 26 pounds of ONE Championship gold.

Always humble but striving for greatness, Kongthoranee added:

“I still don’t think I’m successful yet. It’s only the beginning for me. I still have a long way to go.

“Every fighter wants to become a ONE World Champion, and I’m one of them, too.”

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