Cambodian Top Team’s Ren Saroth never thought he would make it to the big league, and yet he one day away from representing his home country this Friday, 8 March at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR in Myanmar.
Featured on the main card, the Cambodian KWC 3 Tournament Finalist will take on debutant Tial Thang, the popular protege of two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang.
But even though he is on the brink of next-level stardom, Saroth does not forget the hardships he went through and the motivation that led him to this point in his career.
“Last year my mother asked me to stop fighting and work on something else,” Saroth explains.
“But after she saw me getting the opportunity to compete abroad, she changed her mind and started supporting me.”
“She said if I love this career that much, I should train very hard and try to reach the top.”
Ahead of his upcoming bout in Myanmar, Saroth has split his training camp between Cambodian Top Team in Phnom Phnom Penh, and Yorky Mixed Martial Arts in Bangkok.
Saroth is confident that the different training partners and diversity between the gyms will prepare him for one of his most significant tests to date.
Saroth feels the relocation to Bangkok is a necessary move to continue evolving as a martial artist but admits it is difficult to be away from his closest ones.
Missing out on birthdays, vacations and holidays can be tough, but Saroth’s determination has earned him the support of his wife and family.
“This time, I had actually planned something [for Valentine’s Day], but then I got scheduled for this fight and had to go training in Bangkok.”
“At first, [my wife] asked me to stop competing, but I kept on pursuing, and she has now given me her blessings.”
“She has accepted that I fight, but thinks once in a while is enough. She is afraid I will get hurt or not feel well when I’m getting older.”
With a new-found feeling of re-invention, Saroth feels fueled by the support of his Cambodian fans and his family. He can’t wait to put on a show for his supporters and represent “The Kingdom of Wonder” on the global stage.
“I have changed the way I fight, and I am training harder than ever,” says Saroth.
“I will come back stronger this time!”