For ONE Championship’s Singapore-based athletes, there has always been someone who lifted them up in their respective martial arts journeys.
The ones who signed them up at the gym, drove them to their training sessions in the early hours of the morning, and rode that roller coaster of failure and success together over the years.
Thus, it is only fitting that the promotion’s local stars use Father’s Day on Sunday, 16 June, to pay tribute to the men who shaped their lives and made the necessary sacrifices to see them thrive on the global stage.
Christian “The Warrior” Lee
Newly crowned ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee’s admiration for his father knows no bounds.
“I remember right before my title fight, my dad showed me his phone,” he begins.
“It had a screensaver of me holding the title belt and he said to me, ‘We are not going to stop, we are going to prepare for this, and you will be a World Champion.’
“This was at the start of the year, way before the title shot [against Shinya Aoki] was even a possibility. It’s just amazing because we prepared so hard every day, working for that moment. When it came, we were ready, and I was able to become the World Champion.
“Credit to my dad — he called it. We prepared and never looked back. Because of that, I owe him this World Title. I just want to say, ‘Thank you dad, I owe all of my success to you.’”
Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci
This father and son pair are joined in spirit, despite the thousands of miles separating them.
Unable to travel due to his ongoing green card application in the United States, Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci bought a plane ticket for his dad to Hawaii, reuniting both for a special celebration of his father’s 50th birthday.
“My dad and I have been living far apart since I was 21. My parents are separated, and I lived with my dad ever since I was 12, so we are extremely close,” he says.
“I really wanted to spend time with him, and since I couldn’t go to Brazil, I decided to fly him here instead, and I paid for his ticket.
“This wasn’t just an ordinary vacation for us, father and son. I wanted to take the opportunity to show him how my day-to-day life is— like how I teach my classes, my training, and other things about my life.
“We did stuff together on the weekends — going to the beach and hiking. It was really cool to spend time with him.
“Life is a series of choices. My dad educated me in a way so I could make good decisions. All these decisions [have led me to] where I am right now. If it wasn’t because of him, I wouldn’t be here. So dad, thank you for everything.”
With his father at the hospital to witness the arrival of his newborn son, Amir Khan got a double dose of fatherhood.
“The look in my dad’s eyes when he first saw my son — that was really special, him coming to the hospital to see us,” the athlete recalls.
“I was really happy he was there. Normally, my dad has spent so much time focusing on me and my brother, so seeing him display that level of emotion for his grandkid, I can’t forget that.”
Another thing he can’t forget is how his father has always been there for him, especially in his times of need.
“During my down times with Tourette’s, I lacked ambition and I wanted to be a victim. My dad snapped me out of it and reminded me that everyone had their own struggles, and it was up to me to decide if I was going to overcome them,” Khan continues.
“Dad, you are the reason [why I am] where I am in my life right now and the reason why I am able to grow up to be the person I am now. To me, you are the most loving and caring father in the world.”