Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym is a man who thrives off challenges.
Before he steps into the ONE Championship ring for his next challenge – a ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight Tournament clash with Saemapetch Fairtex at ONE: NO SURRENDER II on 14 August in Bangkok – however, he remembers the trials he endured as a youth in one of Thailand’s southern provinces.
When he was a young boy living in Surat Thani, his family lived on top of a mountain, where they spent late nights and early mornings tapping rubber trees.
They barely had any money for food, and most of what they did consume they foraged for.
“At the time, there wasn’t anyone there,” Rodlek said. “It was just a big forest. We just lived in a hut – whenever it rained, we got drenched.”
The discomfort didn’t stop when it rained. Even when they did find shelter, they went without the basics like lights and transportation.
“There was no electricity,” he added, “and we didn’t have a motorcycle, so we couldn’t even go to school.”
The PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym standout’s luck would soon change, however, and the man his family worked for made sure Rodlek could get a proper education.
“The owner of the farm felt sorry for us. He helped me and my brother get set up for school and got us a motorcycle to use,” Rodlek said.
Rodlek used those early days as motivation to become an expert in Muay Thai. He often competed at local temple fairs and then moved to Bangkok to fight in the city’s professional circuit.
In 2011, he won his first belt – the WPMF 126-pound World Title – and in 2016, he added a prestigious Channel 7 Stadium Muay Thai World Title to his trophy case.
Now he stands at the cusp of yet another World Title opportunity, a potential shot at ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. In order to claim that shot, he must get through Saemapetch and the winner of the other semifinal bracket first.
But one thing’s for certain with Rodlek: he will never forget where he came from, and he always remembers who he’s fighting for.
“It was so difficult at the beginning. We literally had nothing,” Rodlek said. “Going through that helped me focus on my career. I’m very, very protective of my parents. Ever since I started fighting, I’ve wanted to help them.
“Back in the day, my dad drove me to the gym every day. Now he still comes to all my fights in Thailand, always. My father always supports me.
“And my goal of winning the ONE Championship belt is still there and is not fulfilled yet. That belt, it will be the honor of my camp and my family.”
Will Rodlek get the win for his family at ONE: NO SURRENDER II this Friday, 14 August, in Bangkok, Thailand?
To find out, watch all the action live on meWATCH at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT). Also, Channel 5 will broadcast the event on delay at 1 a.m. SGT on Saturday, 15 August.
Likewise, you can download the ONE Super App to catch all the action from your smartphone or tablet.
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