The life of Thai kickboxer Singtongnoi Por Telakun, 37, is a story of survival. Aside from literally fighting against his combat sports opponents, he also fought against cancer.
Growing up in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, Singtongnoi was raised in extreme poverty and experienced the trials and tribulations of going through day-to-day life with very little. The grim reality became the driving force to dig his family out of the trenches and pursue martial arts in the hopes of a brighter future.
“I would help out around the house to lighten my parents’ workload,” Singtongnoi recalled. “After that, I trained hard every single day. It was tiring and torturous.”
“I wanted to quit, but I thought about my future and the people that I love,” the Multiple-time Muay Thai world champion continued. “I couldn’t quit. I had to fight for the people that I love.”
Despite the financial obstacles, Singtongnoi still found a way to train and maximize the resources that he had back then. He shared, “I would train at home, kicking an old sack of rice filled with sand. I also trained at the local sala with the other children.”
The kind of dedication that Singtongnoi exhibited soon became synonymous with the type of work ethic Singtongnoi showcased as an elite athlete. With determination and dedication, success was something that he would build with his own two hands as he became one of the most popular Muay Thai practitioners in Thailand, winning numerous prestigious titles throughout his celebrated career such as the Lumpinee Muay Thai world championship.
Singtongnoi is famous for his relentless style in the ring. He has beaten some of Thailand’s biggest Muay Thai superstars, having 300 professional bouts under his belt.
Things took a turn for the worse when Singtongnoi’s Muay Thai career came to an end, and he had to go back to selling goat milk to make ends meet. Fortunately, he received an offer to join the Evolve MMA in Singapore as an instructor, and since then, he had been able to support his family.
Just when things started to look promising in the life of Singtongnoi, a devastating news came his way, revealing that he was diagnosed with stage three cancer. He said, “I was stunned and I couldn’t believe it.”
“I started to cry,” Singtongnoi added. “I was in disbelief. I thought I was going to die for sure.”
“The cancerous tumor was about two centimeters long,” the Thai kickboxer revealed. “It went through my whole nasal cavity, all the way down to the lymph nodes in my neck.”
To treat the severe condition, Singtongnoi had to undergo several medical procedures in Singapore. He recalled, “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.”
Teammates, friends and family were by Singtongnoi’s side when he persevered through all the bleak thoughts and negative feelings. Months after receiving the best treatment possible, the doctor told him that he is cancer-free.
“I was ecstatic,” Singtongnoi recollected. “I could once again see a bright future for myself and my family.”
Through the battle against cancer, Singtongnoi learned that life is valuable and should not be taken for granted. On May 18, 2018, he is slated to square off with Italian dynamo Joseph Lasiri on the undercard of “ONE: Unstoppable Dreams” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
At “ONE: Unstoppable Dreams,” Singtongnoi and Lasiri will compete in the 61.2 kg division in a Muay Thai contest in the ONE Super Series card. Meanwhile, here is Lasiri in the first ever Muay Thai match of ONE Championship: