On a typical day, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Singtongnoi Por Telakun teaches Muay Thai classes at Evolve MMA.
If you watch him conducting a class, you’ll notice that he always gives his 100% – whether it’s holding pads, or ensuring that his students understand and grasp the finer details of the various Muay Thai techniques.
Upon first glance, you probably wouldn’t guess that Singtongnoi had spent the past few months fighting the toughest battle of his life: against cancer.
“The cancerous tumor was about 2 centimeters long,” shares Singtongnoi. “It went through my whole nasal cavity, all the way down to the lymph nodes in my neck.”
In order to treat the cancer, he had to undergo 36 sessions of radiation therapy and 7 sessions of chemotherapy. Singtongnoi describes this period as a “tiring and torturous” one.
“I didn’t have the energy to do anything. All I could do was sleep. Even the most tiring moments of my fighting career weren’t as tiring as this,” he explains. “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.”
Despite having to deal with months of painful treatment and fight the cancer, Singtongnoi never once gave up. In fact, he constantly thought about his loved ones and his children’s future. “I had to fight for the people that I loved,” he shares.
Before having to fight against cancer, Singtongnoi had to battle poverty as a child, and take responsibility for his siblings at a young age. To help ease the financial load at home, he picked up Muay Thai and eventually moved to a camp so as to focus on his training and fighting.
After a long, successful career, which included winning multiple Muay Thai World Championships, Singtongnoi broke his rib and was sidelined for a long time. It was then when he made the very tough decision to leave the Muay Thai competition scene. “I was very old and had been fighting for a long time,” he reveals. “In the Muay Thai world, I was considered as someone who had been fighting for a long time.”
Unfortunately, retirement proved to be yet another obstacle for him, as he had to go back to selling goat milk at the local festivals just to make ends meet. “I had no money, I was really worried about what my life was going to be like,” says Singtongnoi. “Because I stopped fighting, I had no income.”
All that changed when he got the opportunity to join the Evolve MMA instructor team and teach Muay Thai on a full-time basis. Just as his dream job at Evolve was helping him build a future for his family, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer.
“I thought I was going to die for sure,” admits Singtongnoi.
Luckily for him, Evolve paid for his entire treatment, sending him to the best hospital in Singapore. He was able to keep the faith and press on in the face of adversity. All that paid off when the doctor told him that he recovered, after undergoing those months of intense treatment.
Singtongnoi believes that the most important thing to have is a fighting spirit, in order to conquer life’s many obstacles. “What I learned from having cancer is that life is valuable and that you should not take it for granted,” he muses. “It’s important to love yourself and take care of your loved ones, as you don’t know when you’ll die.”
It is evident that Singtongnoi is a warrior through and through. From dealing with poverty as a child to kicking cancer in the butt, he’s a classic example that no matter what happens in life, we have to simply move forward and keep fighting the good fight.
You can find out about training with Singtongnoi at Evolve-MMA.com.