Aung La Nsang shares tricks of the trade ahead of ONE bout

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

BE­FORE he steps into the cage to­mor­row night at ONE Cham­pi­onship: State of War­riors, Aung La Nsang spent some time flex­ing his pop­u­lar­ity with the com­mu­nity yes­ter­day and de­liv­ered some in­spi­ra­tional words to a group of Yan­gon stu­dents.

Aung La Nsang vis­ited the Myintha Myo Oo Child De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter and Monas­tic School in South Okkalapa town­ship, where he spoke with stu­dents about the im­por­tance of per­se­ver­ance and hope in the face of ad­ver­sity. But it wasn’t all ab­strac­tion – the 31-year-old fighter, known as “the Burmese Python”, also demon­strated a few use­ful self-de­fence moves to help stu­dents pro­tect them­selves.

“I feel very con­nected to the youth here,” Aung La Nsang said. “They re­mind me a bit of my­self when I was young grow­ing up in Yan­gon.”

Aung La Nsang, who was orig­i­nally born in the Kachin State cap­i­tal My­itky­ina, was granted asy­lum to the United States when he was 18 years old. Hav­ing to flee the coun­try of his birth and leave his friends and fam­ily be­hind was one of the dark­est times of his life, the fighter said, but see­ing to­day’s youth gives him hope for Myan­mar’s fu­ture.

“Chil­dren are the fu­ture of mankind and it’s im­por­tant for us as adults to guide them,” he said.

Aung La Nsang now re­sides in Bal­ti­more, Maryland, with his wife and 15-month-old son, Aung De, where he trains with Crazy 88 gym. He also makes the eight thou­sand mile jour­ney back a few times a year to visit Myan­mar, where, aside from his his­tory as a refugee, he is the coun­try’s big­gest mixed mar­tial arts celebrity. A re­cent trip to the cap­i­tal saw him mobbed by selfie-seek­ing fans at restau­rants, rest stops, and monas­ter­ies.

“Myan­mar is my mother. It’s the coun­try that made me who I am to­day,” Aung La Nsang said. “I don’t see my­self as the big­gest sports star here. In­stead, I am hon­oured and I am very hum­bled. I will try my best to be a pos­i­tive role model to ev­ery­one.”

Aung La Nsang (18-9-0, 1NC) wasn’t just in town to so­cialise, though: He’s pre­par­ing to head­line State of War­riors, ONE Cham­pi­onship’s third mixed mar­tial arts event in Myan­mar to­mor­row. The “Python” will be squar­ing off against Pol­ish mid­dleweight con­tender Michal Paster­nak (11-1-0) in a three-round bout with re­gional ti­tle im­pli­ca­tions on the line: To­mor­row’s win­ner will look to chal­lenge reign­ing ONE Mid­dleweight World Cham­pion Vi­taly Big­dash.

Aung La Nsang en­ters the match rid­ing the con­fi­dence of three con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries in his past ONE bouts, in­clud­ing over Egypt’s Mo­hamed Ali in ONE: Union of War­riors in March that marked his pro­fes­sional de­but in Myan­mar. None of his 18 pro­fes­sional vic­to­ries have reached the fi­nal bell: Aung La has bested his op­po­nents by ei­ther knock­out or sub­mis­sion.

In Paster­nak, how­ever, Aung La faces his most daunt­ing chal­lenge yet: the 6-foot, 2-inch “Pol­ish buz­z­saw” has also lost only one pre­vi­ous match, to Brazil­ian jiu jitsu leg­end Roger Gra­cie in the first ONE Light Heavy­weight World Cham­pi­onship, and has a pun­ish­ing style that wears down his op­po­nents. Of his 11 wins, five have come via de­ci­sion.

A full three-round brawl his­tor­i­cally has not been to Aung La’s ad­van­tage – ev­ery one of his 18 pro­fes­sional vic­to­ries have come be­fore the fi­nal bell, ei­ther by knock­out or sub­mis­sion. Paster­nak is also “fight­ing down” a weight class, from his typ­i­cal heavy­weight and light heavy­weight , which may give him an ex­tra spark – and even more stamina – fac­ing the “Python”.

But it’s a chal­lenge that Aung La is keen to take on. And he’ll be sure to have the sup­port of an ador­ing home­town crowd be­hind him when he en­ters the cage to­mor­row at Yan­gon’s Thuwunna In­door Sta­dium.

“There is no greater feel­ing than per­form­ing for all of my peo­ple here at home,” Aung La Nsang said. “I am truly hon­oured for this op­por­tu­nity and I will do my best in­side the cage on fight night.” – Staff

Photo: Supplied

Aung La Nsang tu­tored stu­dents Myintha Myo Oo Child De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter some mar­tial arts moves ahead of his clash with Poland’s Michal Paster­nak to­mor­row.

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