With over 250 professional bouts under his belt, Muay Thai icon Tukkatatong Petpayathai, 30, is undoubtedly one of the best in the world in his chosen craft. For this, he has his father to thank for introducing him into that world.
Growing up in the quiet province of Buriram, Thailand, Tukkatatong shared that things were pretty simple growing up. In an interview with ONE Championship, he said, “My life was a normal country kid’s life.”
“I spent my time playing with friends and being naughty,” the Thai fighter recalled. “I was quite misbehaved as a kid.”
Tukkatatong’s father was a local government representative and a fan of the discipline famously known as the art of eight limbs. Soon, it became more than just something that the young boy would watch on the television.
“My dad was a big Muay Thai fan,” Tukkatatong shared. “He used to watch all the fights on television. That is how I got introduced to Muay Thai.”
“I would watch the fights with him and I became a fan,” the Thai fighter continued. “One day, my dad bought some gloves and a bag for us to mess around with.”
It was not long before Tukkatatong decided to dedicate himself to the Thai martial art, and by age ten, he was already competing. Eventually, he decided to make the jump to the big city to further progress as a martial artist.
“I had my first fight when I was 10,” Tukkatatong revealed. “I was in the fourth grade. After fighting for a few years in the provinces, I relocated to Bangkok at the age of 13 and moved to the Kiatpetch Gym.”
As all dedicated martial artists do, Tukkatatong found success but it was not all smooth sailing as he ran into some tough times that ultimately forced him to make competing in Muay Thai his career. Up for re-election back in Buriram, his father ended up spending a lot of money for what would turn out to be a failed bid so the campaign left their family penniless.
“The hardest time of my life was when my family lost all our money,” Tukkatatong recalled. “My dad was up for re-election for the local government. He spent a lot of money on his campaign but he lost the election.”
According to Tukkatatong, it was extremely difficult for everyone in his family. He had gone back home to Buriram to ponder his future as a competitor, but with his family’s financial situation, it was clear what he had to do.
“Once my family went bankrupt, I decided I had to return to fight and help the family out with money,” Tukkatatong said. This decision was just the beginning of a successful Muay Thai career.
Now, Tukkatatong is currently signed with ONE Championship. In his promotional debut on June 29, 2018 at “ONE: Spirit of a Warrior,” he defeated Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout, 35, of Franc in a kickboxing contest in the welterweight division.
On September 8, 2018, Tukkatatong will compete in ONE Championship’s striking-only league ONE Super Series for the second time. He will compete in a kickboxing match in the bantamweight division against Ognjen Topic, 32, of the United States.
Ticket information for ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON is available at www.onefc.com.