Features

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai's Awe-Inspiring Journey To World Title Glory

Sep 27, 2018

In Thailand, the route to success in combat sports is well established.

A young martial artist would take up Muay Thai, and within weeks they could be competing professionally. Often, this is influenced by the necessity to help pull their families out of poverty.

When Srisaket Sor Rungvisai takes to the ring at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday, 6 October, he will not be using ‘the art of eight limbs.’

He will only use his fists, as the Thai superstar has forged a glorious path in boxing.

Srisaket's story of struggle & sacrifice has inspired a nation.

Srisaket's story of struggle & sacrifice has inspired a nation, and the world.Bangkok | 6 October | 5:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, September 24, 2018

Srisaket’s beginnings were not much different from the legions of Nak Muay (practitioner of Muay Thai) in the hundreds of gyms across his homeland.

Coming from a poor family in Northeastern Thailand, his father competed in Muay Thai to help makes ends meet. At the age of 13 – relatively late compared to many of his peers – Srisaket took up the sport, too.

He did not fall in love with the sport immediately, like a young prodigy finding his calling. In fact, the man who is now a two-time WBC Super Flyweight World Champion found any way he could to stay out of the ring.

“I didn’t like to fight that much back then,” the 31-year-old reveals. “There were these people who came to my house and wanted to recruit a Muay Thai athlete. I ran away from them.”

However, Srisaket would soon change his mind, after seeing the Muay Thai legends of the day showcasing how the sport can take its champions from rags to riches.

He won his first Muay Thai bout via knockout, and decided this would be the way he could create a new life for himself and help his loved ones.

What makes Srisaket Sor Rungvisai one of the most feared boxers ever?

What makes Srisaket Sor Rungvisai one of the most feared boxers ever?Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Still 13, he moved to live among the bright lights of Bangkok, a well-trodden path for those aspiring to achieve great things in the ring.

However, he did not earn as much money as he expected, and his career did not set the world on fire. That forced him to seek work as a security guard, and later as a trash collector.

The jobs were arduous, and he still struggled to put food on the table. Sometimes, he had to resort to eating discarded food scraps from the trash to survive.

Soon, however, another opportunity presented itself.

“I got recommended by a guy to try boxing,” the Thai explains. “I didn’t like boxing that much back then, because I thought it wasn’t fun.”

Unconvinced, but without many alternatives, Srisaket went to his local gym. He was pleasantly surprised by how much he started to enjoy the craft of the sweet science. Thanks to his striking experience from Muay Thai, he hit the ground running.

“There were only two paths for me to choose at that time,” he continues. “One was to become a boxer, and the other one was to keep on working as a trash collector. I chose the path to become a boxer, because there was more hope, at least.”

Srisaket's one of the greatest World Champions to ever grace the squared circle.

Srisaket's one of the greatest World Champions to ever grace the squared circle.Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18

Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, September 13, 2018

It was not long before he was pushed into competing, and the thought of big purses enticed the then-struggling 22-year-old.

He was green in the game, and still very much a Muay Thai athlete masquerading as a pugilist when he made his professional debut in Tokyo, Japan, in March 2009.

He took the bouts for the money, and it showed. In his first five outings, he faced opponents with much more experience than him and posted a record of 1-3-1.

There was the potential he could fall into a journeyman’s career, but he had more pride in himself than to accept that. Something had to change.

“The third time I lost was in Japan,” he says. “At the airport, I told myself I would never get hurt again. And it never happened again after that day.”

He committed himself to his training, joined the reputed Nakornloung Promotion, and went on a 26-bout winning streak. His change in mentality brough about a change in his fortunes, and he unearthed the World Champion within.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai & Iran Diaz make bold predictions for their bout in Bangkok!

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai & Iran Diaz make bold predictions for their bout in Bangkok!Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18

Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In May 2013, he faced Yota Sato, and stopped his Japanese opponent to win the WBC Super Flyweight World Title for the first time. With that victory, he had already exceeded his own expectations.

“I just dreamed of being the champion on an Asian scale,” he reveals. “That would have been enough for me. I had never thought of becoming the World Champion.”

Aside from one slip via technical decision to Carlos Cuadras in May of 2014, with the bout going to the scorecards early due to an accidental headbutt, he has continued his dramatic ascent.

Srisaket was a superstar in Asia, but in March 2017, the whole world would come to know the Thai boxer’s name. He was booked to take on Román “Chocolatito” González, a Nicaraguan sensation who was regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet at the time.

At 46-0, González was a World Champion in four weight classes, and the Thai was not given much of a chance to win by industry insiders. However, he dropped González in the first round, and went on to earn a majority decision to cause a colossal upset, and capture the WBC Super Flyweight World Championship once again.

This propelled Srisaket up the pound-for-pound list, but many thought an immediate rematch might see “Chocolatito” immediately reclaim his crown.

Srisaket proved the first result was no a fluke, however, by knocking out his rival in the fourth stanza of their second meeting.

Now, the world celebrated Srisaket and his underdog story, which could easily be the plot of a blockbuster movie.

His streak continued, as he added The Ring Super Flyweight Title to his resume with a majority decision over Juan Francisco Estrada in February, and then stopped Young Gil Bae in July.

Currently, he is making the final preparations for his next title defense against Mexico’s Iran Diaz at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES, which will take place in front of his home crowd. It is the first time he will defend his World Title in his homeland. 

This time, he is the champion and the favorite, but that will not change his usual approach. He will continue to work as hard as any other time in his career because he will never forget his experiences of poverty.

“There were times when I lived by eating only instant noodles because I had no money,” Srisaket says, before offering his advice to others in similarly difficult situations.

“I want everyone to fight and never give up. Eventually, your day will come.”

Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super Apphttp://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets:http://bit.ly/oneheroes18