ONE Championship flyweight star Danny Kingad has a new source of inspiration.
The 10-1 contender from Team Lakay has surged towards the top of ONE Championship’s flyweight division, and faces off against Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES on 22 September.
When “The King” steps into the arena to face his Japanese opponent in Jakarta, he will do so powered by the need to provide for his family.
Kingad recently became a father to baby Gleuordan, and now the 22-year-old is determined to do everything he can to give his son the best life possible, and that means achieving success at the highest level.
“One thing that instantly changed was my purpose,” he explains.
“All this time, I had been fighting for myself, but now, I am fighting for someone else. I am fighting for my little boy, and that, to me, is a greater purpose. I am responsible for him now, and I have to give it my all.”
Kingad’s time is now more precious – during training sessions and when he is at home. He has to get as much out of his time at Team Lakay as possible, but he wants to race back to be with his family.
It is a balancing act that Kingad is determined to get right.
“All my free time now is devoted to my son,” he continues.
“When I am not in training, I come to see him, and spend time with him. It gives me extra motivation to work harder. Now, I understand how fathers feel.
“I am working extra hard in training. I feel invigorated. It is like I was given extra strength and energy. I want to be a good father for my son, and a good provider. I want him to be proud of me when he grows up.”
Kingad doesn’t have to look far for examples of good fathers he can follow and lean on for advice.
His teammates Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio already juggle life as professional martial artists with fatherhood, while his head coach Mark Sangiao – also a father figure to his athletes at Team Lakay – is also a great source of advice and wisdom.
“Coach Mark told me that now, especially, I need to have better focus on improving my skills. He told me that this is where my life changes – that it is not just me anymore, and that my son is a blessing,” he explains.
“It really hit home for me. I came to an instant realisation that I have to work harder than I ever have before. My career now is more important than ever. I have to be the best that I can be, so I can give my son a good life.”
Kingad is doubly determined to succeed for his family’s sake because of the situation he found himself in as a youngster.
Kingad was brought up in extreme poverty, and found himself being led astray by bad influences shortly after the death of his father.
Thankfully, he found martial arts and that, along with the input of a close-knit team, helped him find health, happiness and a life away from the negatives that threatened to drag him down as a young man.
“The King” is adamant that his son won’t experience the same challenges during his early years. He has already decided to introduce martial arts to Gleuordan as early as possible in the hope that it will help his son just as it helped him.
“When I was growing up, I made a lot of mistakes. I went with the wrong crowd, and it nearly wasted my life,” he says.
“But martial arts turned that around for me, and saved me. I will definitely introduce martial arts to my son.
“If he chooses to follow in my footsteps, I will support him. I will have a little martial artist by my side.”