How Panicos Yusuf Began His Mission To Change Lives With Martial Arts

Ahead of ONE: A NEW ERA this Sunday, 31 March, Panicos Yusuf is focused on one thing – winning his bout against “Jordan Boy” Mohammed Bin Mahmoud.

However, when he is not scheduled to compete, he dedicates much of his time to changing lives through the power of martial arts.

The Cypriot warrior’s calling is inspired by the coaches who helped him to become a two-time Muay Thai World Champion.

Without their support and the sacrifices they made for him, Yusuf says he could have been stuck in a dead-end job, and his dream of traveling across the planet to face the world’s best athletes might have gone unrealized.

“Thai boxing changed my life,” he says.

“My first coach in Cyprus, Kyriakos Christofi, trained me for free. He paid out of his own pocket for me to travel abroad and fight.

“Then I came to the UK, and Paul Tite took time out of his own job to train me. Liam Robinson dedicated all his time to train me as well.

“He spent time away from his wife and even sacrificed his honeymoon to be at one of my fights. That’s just amazing. I told him not to come, but he was there anyway.”

Though the UK-based competitor has always had the work ethic and dedication to succeed, these trainers pushed him to a higher level, and gave him opportunities to excel.

They believed in him, and Yusuf proved why when he became a two-time Muay Thai World Champion, and then took his place among his sport’s elite on the ONE Super Series roster.

The Manchester resident’s mentors inspired him to follow a similar path, and do what he can to give other people the same chance for success.

“All these guys have helped me grow as a person, and I feel I need to give it back, and return that favor by helping people,” he explains.

“If I can help one person in my lifetime I feel like I’ve done my job on this earth.”

Yusuf has been able to do so much more than that through coaching Muay Thai at All Powers Gym in England.

That also came about because of his coach, Paul Tite, who encouraged him to quit his job in a call center and take over the facility, which was then known as Stockport Thai Fighters, in 2010.

Tite was preparing to retire to live in Thailand – though he still corners and advises his student when he competes – and he wanted someone he believed in to carry on his legacy in Britain.

Yusuf admits he was scared to take the gamble and leave behind the security of a steady paycheck, even if he had no passion for his work. However, he took the leap and started to build a thriving martial arts hotbed.

“We started in a little basement. It was very low-key with not many students,” he explains.

“It was a very difficult time, and I was very close to giving up and taking a full-time job, but my wife would not let me quit, and now we’re renowned in the UK and Europe.

“We changed the name because we’ve got boxers, mixed martial artists, strength and conditioning, and Muay Thai, which I run.”

Just as martial arts had a transformative effect on his life, the 33-year-old’s students have reaped the benefits of training as well.

The All Powers Team is now bursting with talent, proving Yusuf has accomplished his mission to pay forward the generosity he received from his coaches over the years.

“We have about 40-60 fighters that compete, from 5-year-olds to adults, so we’re very busy,” he adds.

“What I love is being able to pass on my knowledge – teaching a technique and seeing it come to fruition when they’re under pressure in the ring.”

It is no surprise that is a hallmark of a Yusuf-trained athlete. The bantamweight contender proved he is one of the coolest competitors in the game when he arrived in The Home Of Martial Arts with a masterful win against future World Title challenger, Han Zi Hao.


Now, he has the chance to take another step toward the top at the biggest event in ONE history against a powerful Malaysian rival.

However, if everything goes as he plans, he will give his students watching at home in England another lesson by using his experience to pick “Jordan Boy” apart on his way to a highlight-reel finish.