Pongsaklek Wongjongkam: My Life as a Fighter
Muay Thai to Boxing: An All-Time Great Flyweight
The great Thai Nak Muays have endless underdog stories. Their tales of Muay Thai being the reason for their success. Their tales of, as we’ve all no doubt heard from motivational speakers before, turning trials into triumphs.
However, we don’t get as many Nak Muays branching out into other combat sports. That changes now.
Pongsaklek went into his first fight with no training or experience of any kind. He was always willing to embrace and challenge, and embrace it he did. Pongsaklek won his first fight by 3rd round knockout. Then, after around 50 Muay Thai matches, Pongsaklek took on a new challenge: boxing.
Pongsaklek won a boxing competition for school kids before while he was still training Muay Thai. However, it was boxing, not Muay Thai;therefore, he didn’t think much of it. But his promoter did. He was more than impressed by Pongsaklek hands, so he asked if he wanted to transition to boxing entirely. Pongsaklek, always willing to embrace a challenge, said yes.
Pongsaklek’s success was fueled entirely by his willingness to work harder than anyone else. In his Muay Thai training, he would run 20KM a day, be jumping in and out of tires, and shadowboxing with weights in his hands. His belief in himself, even when he became champion, had deep humility; he believed that everyone was better than him. Because of this belief, Pongsaklek understood that he must train his hardest in order to close the gap.
Even after more than 15 successful title defenses, Pongsaklek never lost his humility. In fact, he even earned the fastest knockout in flyweight world title history by finishing his opponent, Daisuke Naito, in just 34 seconds. During the end of his career, he was eventually awarded by the WBC with “Most Outsanding Boxer of the Decade.”
After retirement, this lesson of work ethic and humility actually found even more meaning and depth. He saw how his success in life was created by his success in the ring, and how his success in the ring was created by humility and commitment to outworking and outgrowing any opponent.
Pongsaklek understands the true value of humility, and this is a lesson he always teaches to his students at Evolve MMA in Singapore. He understands that, as Epictetus put it, “it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.” The value of work and the grace of humility is what Pongsaklek believes is the most important lesson he, as a teacher, can spread.
Find out more about the story of the all-time great flyweight
Check out his blitz of Daisuke Naito in the video below: