Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri’s resilience has helped him to navigate life both inside and outside the ring.
The WBC Muay Thai World Champion will be back in action against Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam next Friday, 6 September, and his inner fortitude will be crucial to his success.
Lasiri believes it is a trait that is built into every fiber of his being, so it will never let him down.
“Nobody showed me how to be resilient, or the importance of resilience. I think resilience and heart are God’s gifts and are innate in me,” he explains.
“There is a quote I remember that says that in life, ‘It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’ It is a powerful piece of advice for everyone who wants success in life.”
Before his inspirational performances in ONE Super Series, the Milan native had to endure tough times in life, but they never stopped him from following his dreams.
He had to overcome other people’s doubts about his chances for sporting success, and he used them as motivation for his training in “the art of eight limbs.” This was an early testament to his tenacity, though his biggest obstacle came in another form.
When his family suffered financial hardship, Lasiri stepped up to the plate to help. His parents were out of work and struggled to pay their bills, so “The Hurricane” took the huge step to move to London, England – far away from home and with no grasp of the language.
“I moved to London in 2014. I decided to do it mainly to challenge myself and also to help my family in need from there,” he reveals.
“Living and working abroad is not easy at all. You are confronted with many uncomfortable experiences, such as being lonely, isolated and facing language barriers.
“For this reason, this experience was not perfect, but I learned much more to overcome adversity and stand back up every time I failed. Facing your fears is an opportunity to start from scratch and get stronger than before.”
Lasiri worked in a pizza restaurant to pay his way and could speak Italian and some Arabic with his co-workers, but his grasp of English was limited.
While he was in Britain, he wanted to continue to realize his ambitions in martial arts, so he joined the renowned Team Tieu and trained as much as his busy work schedule allowed, and that helped him to communicate with the locals.
He wanted to connect with his training partners, so he worked hard to learn the new language while he gave his all in training. His efforts, along with the unifying qualities of martial arts, meant he soon fit right in with his peers.
“I had to learn English to be able to communicate with clients, but the real motivation for learning English was Muay Thai,” notes “The Hurricane.”
“When I started training in the new gym, I wanted all the other athletes to know me better, so I had to learn the language to be able to express myself.
“It was difficult to enter a new gym and earn the respect of all the other professional fighters that were training there. I had to work hard to get their respect, but when they started to know me better, they accepted me and treated me like a member of their family.
“They gave me a second home far from [home]. I will always be grateful to Team Tieu for giving me a training family during that period.”
Lasiri continued his evolution in the gym, helped his family when they were in need, and strengthened his character under difficult circumstances.
This paid dividends when the 28-year-old returned home and got back in the ring to pursue his martial arts career.
“Facing many difficult situations in life makes you stronger,” asserts Lasiri.
“I am able to accept and adapt to any situation. This doesn’t mean I don’t feel the intensity of the events or problems, it just means I always try to find a good way to deal with it.
“It’s exactly the same in martial arts – what makes you a great fighter is to have the power to face stronger opponents and find a way to put them in difficulty.”
“The Hurricane” has taken the hardest strikes from some of the world’s finest stand-up martial artists, but he showed his formidable ability to shake them off and go back on the offensive.
A few setbacks did not stop him from accepting bouts against the toughest competition in The Home Of Martial Arts, and his persistence paid off when he upset then-undefeated WFKO Karate World Champion Hiroki Akimoto in front of the Japanese athlete’s home crowd at ONE: A NEW ERA in March.
The Italian knows he will have to draw on the same fortitude that took him to victory in that three-round war when he returns against Mongkolpetch at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, but that is one thing that has never failed him.
“Resilience is not only important – it’s fundamental,” says Lasiri.
“In martial arts you need resilience to face hard training and tough opponents, and heart to go on even if you are tired and exhausted.
“My next opponent is a strong one. I will enter the ring and will get the work done. In this upcoming bout, I will follow the only direction I know, forward!”