Known as one of the most exciting competitors of his era, the Lumpinee Stadium and WMC Muay Thai World Champion began his career in to help lift his family out of poverty in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat).
Following a comeback from a three-year retirement last year, his career in “the art of eight limbs” is still going strong, and now that the Evolve representative has achieved success beyond his wildest dreams, he wants to give back to his community, too.
Since his last bout, he has split his time between training, coaching in Singapore, and a project he has worked on for the past few years.
“I’ve been promoting Muay Thai fights in my native Khorat. I am working together with my old gym boss, Mr. Telakun,” he says.
“Muay Thai changed my life. It has given me and my family so much. Giving back is part of the sport, and now it is my turn.
“Working at Evolve, I make a really good salary, so I am able to do this. I think that it is important to give back to the local community, and it makes me really proud to see the kids compete.”
In the Muay Thai heartland of Isaan, the sport operates on its own microeconomy, where patronage is key to allowing promotions to get up and running.
The community will rally together to run the show by booking a venue, obtaining permits, hiring referees, and making the matches. However, without the money to pay for all of that, the event cannot take place. That is where Singtongnoi comes in.
He does not expect to get anything back from his investment – he just wants to give young Thais a platform and give them the chance to change their lives as he did.
“I love watching the kids, they really go for it. They just love it, and they are exciting,” Singtongnoi adds.
“It is important to give them a stage where they can grow and develop. It is part of their evolution as fighters.”
“I just want to create something fun for the community that everyone can get involved in.”
These grassroots events are pivotal to the sport on a national level. They act as stepping stones for young and hungry competitors by giving them the experience they need to take their careers to the next level.
The chance to see this raw talent in action is another thing that attracts the ONE Super Series flyweight star. By using his expert eye, he can support the place where he started his career by spotting candidates for the team.
“It is also a way to scout fighters for my old gym. My gym did so much for me, so I want to help them,“ Singtongnoi adds.
He is not the only scout at these shows, either. With so many people in attendance on the lookout for the stars of tomorrow, the top performers could soon jump to the prestigious stadiums of Bangkok. Success there could lead to a spot in ONE Championship.
Singtongnoi is living proof that it is possible for these young competitors. He is a hometown hero who has made a name for himself on the global stage for martial arts.
The presence of a multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion at ringside provides hope to the young competitors of Isaan and epitomizes the opportunities and social mobility that Muay Thai can provide.
Singtongnoi would never have achieved so much in his career if not for events like these, and his patronage helps to keep them alive. That is perhaps more important to him than winning any belt.
“When I retired, I wanted to come back into the Muay Thai community, so this is a way to stay connected,” he says.
“These events are always a lot of fun for me. I miss all my friends, so it is great to get to be with them and the Muay Thai community. It makes me really happy.”
Ho Chi Minh City | 6 September | 7PM | ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets:http://bit.ly/oneimmortal19