Here’s How This Muay Thai World Champion Fought For His Life… And Won
“It only takes one moment to change everything”
– Jordan Warner
What is life, but a series of fleeting moments stitched together? Sometimes we get so caught up in the past and/or the future that we fail to be present for the here and now. The thing is, sometimes that moment is all we have. Everything can change at the snap of a finger.
For multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Singtongnoi Por Telakun, that unexpected change came on a fateful afternoon at the hospital –when he was diagnosed with cancer.
A Devastating Blow
“The cancerous tumor was about 2 centimeters long,” Singtongnoi explains. “It went through my whole nasal cavity, all the way down to the lymph nodes in my neck. I asked: ‘Do I really have cancer?’ I started to cry. I was in disbelief.”
Known to be one of the greatest World Champions of his era, Singtongnoi has defeated some of the biggest names in Muay Thai. It is clear that his unbreakable warrior spirit has helped him to overcome the many challenges he faced – not only in the ring, but in life itself.
Struggling From Youth
At a young age, Singtongnoi had to take on extra responsibilities around the house and look after his younger siblings as his parents worked odd jobs to make ends meet. In order to help his family get out of poverty, a young Singtongnoi made the decision to start training Muay Thai and eventually make a career out of it.
Out of a staggering 300 fights, Singtongnoi has won 220 – and was named Rajadamnern Fighter Of The Year. Unfortunately, age eventually caught up to him and the great champion faced a real decision: to continue fight or retire in peace.
“I was very old,” he shares. “In the Muay Thai world, I was considered as someone who had been fighting for a long time.”
After growing up in the worst poverty, Singtongnoi, having left the Muay Thai world, found himself struggling to support his family once again.
“Because I stopped fighting, I had no income,” he says. “I went back to selling goat milk at the local festivals to earn money.”
Glimmer of Hope
Just when things started to look bad, Singtongnoi was offered the chance to relocate to Singapore and work as a Muay Thai instructor. Through his job at Evolve MMA, he was able to once again provide for his family and, at the same time, get back to what he loves: Muay Thai.
But few good things last forever. When cancer struck, Singtongnoi feared the worst.
“I thought I was going to die for sure,” admits Singtongnoi. “After undergoing the radiation therapy and chemotherapy, my throat hurt and I had burns from the radiation all over my neck. It was hard for me to walk and all I wanted to do was throw up.”
“But I had to fight for the people I love,” he says. “I wanted to quit, but I thought about my children’s future and the people that I love.”
With his friends and family by his side, he persevered through all the bleak thoughts and negative feelings with every fiber of his being. Evolve covered his medical costs to ensure he received the best treatment possible. Months later, it all paid off when the doctor told him he had recovered.
“I was ecstatic,” he recalls. “I could once again see a bright future for myself and my family.”
Through this battle against cancer, Singtongnoi has learned that life is valuable and should not be taken for granted.
“It’s important to love yourself and take care of your loved ones, as you don’t know when you’ll die,” he muses.
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