Ev Ting is one of the hardest working athletes you will ever see in action.
The amalgamation of talent, an impeccable work ethic, and a high martial arts IQ has led the Malaysian to a remarkable professional record of 14-4. Also, it has made him one of the most exciting competitors in ONE Championship’s stacked lightweight division.
As “E.T.” prepares for a tough battle against Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton (11-3) at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD on Friday, 23 February, in Yangon, Myanmar, he will be taking something with him that has helped him become a success. It is something intangible, but it has had a very real and profound impact on his life.
“The main thing I got from my parents was unconditional love,” the 28-year-old reveals, offering an insight into the family security that gave him such a firm footing in life.
Like many other of Asia’s finest martial artists, Ting experienced hardship during his childhood.
His parents made some major sacrifices for the betterment of their kids. His father put all of their savings into emigrating his family from Malaysia to New Zealand, in an effort to provide his five children with better opportunities in life.
Far removed from the bright lights and packed stadiums of Asia’s capitals, early life for the adjusting migrants was hand-to-mouth. That is, if your hand was fast enough.
“It was not the easiest,” Ting explains.
“For example, when it was meal time, there might be one or two plates of food to feed seven of us. That was how we lived. We lived by having just enough to eat.”
Nothing was given, and everything was earned. Every member of the family was a part of the collective effort. “E.T.,” the youngest, admits his father, mother, and older siblings were key providers. But when it was his turn, he did his share, too.
“We all went into work at local supermarkets as soon as we turned 15. We were taught to contribute to the [family] expenses,” he explains.
“I had close to 20 part-time jobs, but I feel like my elder siblings and parents went beyond that to make everything possible to this day.”
By 2011, he set his sights on a professional career in martial arts, and that work ethic put him in good stead. It is a demanding career path, forcing even the most elite of competitors to dig deep and put in hours of hard work at the gym.
The fitness to go three rounds, or even five championship rounds, inside the ONE cage is not a genetic gift, but rather a persistent toil to prepare yourself in the right way. Had Ting been given everything on a plate growing up, his work ethic might have suffered.
From that perspective, the lessons his father and mother instilled into “E.T.” at an early age has carried over into his professional career and personal life, and that is something “E.T.” will forever appreciate.
“I would not prefer any other way,” he says, reflecting on his upbringing.
“If I was to have children in the future, I would not give them everything on a plate either. There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and I am very grateful for my parents. If I could be 10 percent of what they are, I would be more than happy.”
Witnessing their son’s success validates their risk to relocate from Malaysia to New Zealand, and they are glad to see the man he has turned out to be. In addition to that, his parents may have become the organization’s biggest fans.
“They are very proud,” Ting states.
“At first, they were worried, but they became my biggest supporters. Now, they are probably ONE Championship’s biggest supporters as well. They know everything that goes on, and they probably know more athletes in ONE than I do!”
Through his humble upbringing and the love given to him by his parents, even in hard times, the Tings have achieved what they set out for — to open up a world of opportunity for their children, and let them forge their own path.
The Malaysian hero’s martial arts path continues this coming Friday, where he will try to defeat Sexton and continue his journey to the ONE Lightweight World Championship.