Rocky Ogden has never been afraid to meet life’s toughest challenges head-on – whether that’s moving to Thailand alone as a teenager or taking on the legendary Sam-A Gaiyanghadao for the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in his ONE Super Series debut.
Along the way, the Boonchu Gym representative has always sought to improve himself by stepping up to the plate. He’ll get the next chance to do so in a 59-kilogram catch weight Muay Thai contest against Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV this Friday, 20 November.
Before the action goes down at the previously recorded event in Singapore, we look back at the journey that forged the Australian into the formidable competitor we see on the global stage today.
Childhood In Queensland
Ogden was born in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia, and grew up on the state’s Sunshine Coast with his parents and three older brothers, Josh, Nathan, and Jaiden.
His father, Gavin, owned a concrete business and his mother, Evon, worked in admin at the local hospital’s emergency department. And though any household with four young sons can be a handful at times, they were a tight-knit unit.
“I’ve got a good family, we’ve always been very close, and my parents have always supported me in any way they can,” Ogden says.
“Me and my brothers are all two years apart, and I was the youngest, so it was torture at times – they never gave me an easy day – but it was a pretty normal childhood, and we’re all still close.”
Like his siblings, the youngest child had a penchant for adrenaline-inducing sports. And while he was an able student at school, Ogden always had his sights set elsewhere.
“When I was younger, I was always into skateboarding and surfing – things like that. Everything and anything that is a bit of a thrill,” he offers.
“I was always a good student. I would get up to no good sometimes like all kids, but I never missed class or anything. I just knew that I wasn’t going to pursue it.”
The Road To Muay Thai
The reason the Boonchu Gym athlete never had an interest in education was that he was enamored with Muay Thai and wanted to make a career out of it.
His father had gotten the children started in taekwondo, but the youngest Ogden’s inclination toward the most extreme sports led him into full-contact striking.
“My dad was always into martial arts, and he got me and my brothers into it to learn how to protect ourselves,” the Aussie striker offers.
“When I was about 10, I started in taekwondo. I did that for about a year and I was pretty good at it, but it got a bit boring. My brother said I should try Muay Thai, so we all went down to the class. I tried it and I loved it.
“I seemed to be pretty good, so I stuck to it. I had a couple of fights when I was 12, and then I had a little bit of time off with my friends. But when I was 15, I got back into it and started fighting again.”
- Full Card Revealed For ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV
- 5 Reasons To Be Excited About Aslanbek Zikreev’s Big Debut
- How To Watch ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV
All-In On “The Art Of Eight Limbs”
When he returned to Muay Thai, Ogden realized that it was his calling. He didn’t want to be “just another kid who didn’t achieve anything,” so he dedicated himself to the art.
His parents backed him all the way and moved to the Gold Coast, where there was better training being offered. However, their son wanted to go one step further and embed himself in the sport’s source to take his skills to the next level.
“I was training at a gym called Urban and there was a Thai trainer there,” Ogden recalls. “He said I could go over to his place in Bangkok to train, and then it was all Thailand from there.”
So, at just 16 years old, the Aussie moved to “The Land Of Smiles” to train full-time at Pathum Thani Gym. Though it was not easy, Ogden showed true grit and determination to stay the course and pursue his dream.
“My first trip, I went out for a month to try it out and it didn’t go so well,” he says.
“I had a fight and lost and just got abused by the trainer. It was pretty rough, but I stuck it out. It didn’t affect me that much. I knew the Thai way was pretty harsh, and in a weird way, I kind of like that old-school training. I think if you really want to go somewhere in the sport, then it doesn’t matter.
“I started to stay in Thailand for about six months at a time. I was lucky that my parents could help me with flights and stuff, but it was still tough. I slept on wooden floors, and there were times I could not eat if I did not have enough money from fights.
“Nobody spoke English, so I had to pick up the language, but I dedicated my life to this. It was what I wanted, and it showed me the real Muay Thai way.”
The Big Payoff
Ogden soon made a name for himself on the Thai scene.
At 17, he became the first Australian to win the WPMF Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title and quickly became a fan favorite for the way he competed.
“When I went back, I won like nine fights in a row, and I think eight by knockout, so I picked up a name,” Odgen says. “The Thais tended to like me because I fought similar to them with good technique and heart.”
While in Bangkok, the rising star was also introduced to compatriot and Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr. The fighters were on the same page and teamed up to train together back home at Boonchu Gym.
The combination of an icon’s support and his experience in Thailand has prepared Ogden to take on the elite competitors in ONE Super Series.
He put on a formidable showing against all-time great Sam-A back in February, and with the eyes of the world upon him once again, the Aussie is excited to put on a good display against WBC Muay Thai World Champion Lasiri this Friday.
“You know you’re fighting the best once you get [to ONE Championship], and that’s what means more to me than anything,” Ogden says.