Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez had to endure a lot of hardship as he grew up, but that gave him an insatiable hunger for success to be one of the world’s best kickboxers.
The Dutch-Moroccan heavy-hitter will be back in action against Anderson “Braddock” Silva at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST on Saturday, 15 June, and a win in Shanghai, China could earn him his shot at the biggest prize in martial arts.
But even before he gets the chance to compete for a ONE World Title, his success has helped him to pass on a better life to his family and turn their fortunes around.
Tarik Khbabez's perfect 3-0 ONE Super Series record is on the line when he clashes with Brazilian behemoth Anderson Silva on 15 June!????: Shanghai | 15 June | 5PM | ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/onequest19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, June 3, 2019
“It was hard growing up raised only by my mother – we didn’t have much,” he reveals.
“She took care of six kids with nothing. Now it’s my time to return everything she did for us.”
Life for the young “Tank” was difficult. Born in Rabat-Salé, Morocco, he emigrated to the Netherlands aged 6 and grew up in The Hague with his mother, brothers, and sisters in an area that was blighted by crime and destitution.
“We lived in a disadvantaged area with thieves, dealers, and low-income people. Everyone in my neighborhood was struggling,” he explains.
“I saw a lot of poor people and things happening in the neighborhood, like fights or shootings. It was hard to grow up there as a young boy.
“I knew that I had to make different choices to make something of my life.”
Tarik Khbabez NEVER skips leg day ????Download the ONE Super App now ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, January 26, 2019
Khbabez admits that he sometimes let his aggression get the better of him on the streets, but fortunately, he found a passion that gave him the ability to control his emotions, stay out of trouble, and work toward something great.
He began martial arts aged 6 with karate classes before he moved on to boxing. He then found kickboxing as a teenager and felt an instant affinity for his nation’s favorite combat sport that became all-encompassing.
Everything else took a back seat as he focused on realizing his dreams in the ring.
“I didn’t have many friends growing up, just two best friends. I was busy with my goal in life of being the best in kickboxing,” he says.
“I used to watch K-1 fights with Peter Aerts, he was one of my favorites, but my biggest inspiration was Muhammad Ali. Looking at these fighters, I could relate to them.
“For me, kickboxing was everything. It kept me focused and taught me discipline. After I won my first bout, I knew for sure I could make this a career.”
Tarik Khbabez is looking to finish Anderson "Braddock" Silva on 15 June and MAKE. A. STATEMENT. ????Shanghai | 15 June | 7PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, May 24, 2019
The two-time SUPERKOMBAT Heavyweight World Champion left school at 16 and put all of his energy into his training and competition schedule. Catastrophic injuries set him back, but they did not stop him on his road to greatness.
If anything, his resolve was made stronger when he recovered, and he continued to collect victories on his way to the world’s largest martial arts organization.
He was also spurred on by a purpose that was bigger than himself.
“I want to set a good example for my kids later in life. I know where I came from, and I don’t want that for them,” Khbabez says.
“Morocco also motivates me because I have a big fanbase there and I want to inspire them [by showing] that a boy growing up in a disadvantaged area can achieve what he wants by working hard. I want to be an example for them.”
It would have been easy for “The Tank” to go down the wrong path and end up in the life of crime like many others from his neighborhood, but his focus on his goals kept him on track.
Does Moroccan powerhouse Tarik Khbabez deserve a shot at ONE gold if he claims another win in Shanghai? Shanghai | 15 June | 7PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, May 25, 2019
Now, he has a successful career as a martial arts World Champion, and his family can also be proud of his achievements and reap the benefits.
Khbabez urges others to follow his example – find their passion and believe in it, no matter what life throws in their way, so they can have a better life.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” he asserts.
“I have come far [in life] and have faced many struggles with living in poverty, but if you set your mind to it and work hard, you will achieve your dreams!”