ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon may be influencing a new generation of strikers around the globe, but lately, he has been making a massive impact on one of his biggest supporters at home.
That supporter happens to be his girlfriend’s younger brother, who could have quite a promising career in “the art of eight limbs” as well.
The Thai superstar has been dating ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex for a year now, and the two seem to be getting closer every single day.
Despite the obstacles they have to face – like the fact that Jitmuangnon Gym and the Fairtex Training Center are nearly 150 kilometers apart – they continue to make the relationship work with relative ease.
However, since their relationship started in early 2019, Rodtang has made it his personal mission to connect with Stamp’s family – in particular, her 13-year-old brother, Shogun.
“Whenever I come to visit, he runs over to me and jumps on me,” the 22-year-old says. “I think he sees me as an older brother.”
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The family patriarch has kept the tradition alive and taught Shogun, who has been competing in the ring since he was seven years old.
After seeing potential in the young charge, Rodtang has started mentoring him and wants to keep on developing his little protégé’s skill set.
“I’ve taught him some boxing,” the Thai star begins. “He has a big future ahead of him, and he is really determined. He is also very well-rounded and has a lot of good techniques. I watch him train on Stamp’s dad’s Facebook live streams. I want to mold him to be just like me.”
That wish seems to be coming true.
Last year, “The Iron Man” promoted a show in Stamp’s hometown in the Rayong province just to watch the teenager compete.
When the youngster stepped into the ring for his bout, it was as if Rodtang was watching a younger version of himself.
“Shogun won that day,” the Jitmuangnon Gym representative says with a grin. “He fought just like me – he used lots of punches and leg kicks.”
A shared passion for Muay Thai brought the two close rather quickly, but their relationship has grown beyond the sport.
Rodtang and Stamp adhere to intense training schedules at their respective gyms, so the Muay Thai power couple does not get to spend too much time with each other – let alone with their families.
That makes things particularly difficult for the atomweight queen, who is extremely close to her little brother.
Knowing that, “The Iron Man” solves this problem by inviting Shogun to go out with them to their favorite places – like the mall, the movie theater, and the all-you-can-eat buffets.
“Wherever we go, we all go together,” the star humbly offers.
Rodtang even brought Shogun out to Jitmuangnon Gym during his school’s break just so he could experience what it was like to train at one of the most renowned Muay Thai facilities in the country. But first, they had a serious talk.
“I told him you must respect your elders, and understand what it means to be at a big gym,” the reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion recalls. “I explained to him how to act, and told him you can’t be stubborn.”
Currently, with Thailand under lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the nation, Rodtang has chosen to spend his time with Stamp and her family in the Rayong province.
With malls, movie theaters, and buffets off the table, “The Iron Man” has found other ways to pass the time with his apprentice.
“Right now, we’re just staying at home and training a little bit in the front yard,” he says. “We like to play games on our phones, and we will watch Muay Thai videos and cook together.”
Despite the tough times that lie ahead, Rodtang is maintaining a positive attitude and focusing his energy on his relationships with those around him – especially his relationship with Shogun.
The Thai superstar will continue to strengthen his bond with his young charge and mentor the teenager on his martial arts journey. After all, he believes his biggest supporter has a very bright future in Muay Thai.
“Since I’ve known him, he has improved a lot,” Rodtang says. “He’s got a good stance, boxing, and clinch. Once his weight reaches 45 kilograms, I’ll push him to become a champion at every stadium in Bangkok.”