‘Kickboxing Was My Savior’ – How Tayfun Ozcan Went From The Black Sheep To A Local Hero

Tayfun Ozcan makes his way to the Circle at ONE on Prime Video 2

At 31 years old, #5-ranked featherweight kickboxer Tayfun Ozcan is revered as one of the greatest strikers on the planet, but he spent much of his childhood as an outcast.

The Dutch-Turkish star – who returns against #1-ranked Superbon Singha Mawynn at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video on June 9 – endured difficult circumstances as a youth, and he pushed his family away as a result.

As the second-oldest of seven siblings growing up under a father who struggled with alcohol and drug issues, “Turbine” was often left to fend for himself.

As a result, he went without the care and nurture that a young person needs, which left a void that he filled with “lousy” behavior.

He explained:

“It was hard with seven children in the family, especially when your father has an addiction. That’s the most difficult part. Because all the money went to his addiction.

“When I was a young kid, I had too much energy for my family. I used the energy in a negative way because I needed love. But I didn’t get the love. So I was looking for attention, and then I was seeking negative attention. That’s why nobody liked me. And that’s why I was the black sheep.”

Acting out seemed like the only way Ozcan could get noticed, but it also worsened his situation.

He tried playing team sports to properly channel his intensity, but when his father couldn’t pay for him anymore, the youngster was left right back where he started.

Fortunately, that changed when he discovered kickboxing – and met a coach who recognized his talent for the striking arts. The coach then gave “Turbine” a chance to prove he could make a pivotal change in his life.

Ozcan recalled:

“I was accepted [at the kickboxing club] and it was somewhere I could use my energy. I was playing soccer, but my father didn’t pay the checks, so they kicked me out. Kickboxing was my savior.

“I couldn’t pay for classes because my father didn’t pay and I didn’t have any money. My trainer at the time saw something in me and let me train for free. Without it, I don’t know what I would have done. Of course, [life] could have gone a lot differently.”

Healing The Wounds And Discovering What Truly Matters

With a positive outlet for his unrelenting energy, things started to come together for Ozcan.

He enjoyed a better relationship with his family because his dedication to kickboxing made him more level-headed and mature. At the same time, he quickly realized that he didn’t want everything his newfound success was attracting.

The Siam Gym representative said:

“I was like 15 or 16 years old and I was already making a big name for myself in my hometown, and now everyone wanted to be my friend. I thought, ‘Ah, so this is how it works. Everyone wants to be my friend now.’

“First, nobody liked me, but now a lot of people were rooting for me, and I was making a name for myself. Everyone wanted to be a part of it. So. I said, ‘**** everyone.’ I always chose my own way.”

That mindset ultimately led Ozcan to the life he’d always dreamed about.

He healed the rifts with his family, went on to achieve greatness in the world of professional kickboxing, and then started a family of his own, where he could pass on the love he wasn’t given as a child.

Still, “Turbine” doesn’t harbor a grudge toward anyone for the tough times. He’s simply happy that he can give the best version of himself to his loved ones after everything they went through in the past.

Ozcan added:

“We are a very close family now. We’ve been through a lot together, so the bond between us is only getting stronger now.

“Everyone has their own life, so it’s nice to come together from time to time to talk about each other’s life and that stuff. We have a very good bond now.”

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