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Orphanage to MMA Stardom: Bokang Masunyane details his inspirational story

LockerRoom Team
07 April 2022

Bokang Masunyane has been a force to reckon with in ONE Championship ever since his promotional debut. The South African is currently undefeated in his professional MMA career at the moment and is one of the top contenders for the ONE Strawweight title.

Speaking to ONE Championship recently, Bokang recalled his tough childhood.

“To be honest, I did have bad times, but mostly, I try staying positive and remembering all the good times that have happened in my life. And for me, I think it was a part of discovering myself and learning what I love. Knowing that I didn’t have a mother or father to look out for me, I was always grateful for the people around me that actually looked after me,” Bokang said.

He, however, was close with his siblings and recalls how it was a game of survival for him those days.

“I was very close with my brothers and sisters, even though I knew that they were also going through some difficult times. I think for us it was a game of survival. They also had their own story that they had to rewrite,” he added.

Amidst the hard times, it was sports that helped him to excel. He started with soccer and slowly found his passion in wrestling as well.

“I excelled at a lot of sports. I enjoyed playing soccer. I’ve enjoyed doing athletics, and I did a bit of gymnastics every now and then. But there was so much variety within the orphanage which you could choose, and I found my passion in wrestling.”

ALSO READ | He has not been tested: Jarred Brooks confident of a win against Bokang

The rest, as they say, was history. Bokang won 23 national titles and three African championships and even competed at the Commonwealth Games.

“I won 23 national titles, I won three African Championships, and I competed at the Commonwealth Games. So I took it quite far, but unfortunately, wrestling in South Africa is not as big as wrestling everywhere else around the world. You can’t make a living out of it, and the best alternative was MMA.  As soon as I started learning about MMA, I developed a love for it. I decided to see how far I could take it. Everyone around me was very supportive about it, and from then, I just excelled at it,” he recalls.

The South African phenom added that he had to overcome self-doubt to reach where he is today.

“Coming from the orphanage, I felt like I was left out. I really felt like I was behind with everything in life. Everything else around the world carries on and evolves, but all I did was go from the orphanage to school and back. I went into the real world feeling left out and feeling uncomfortable at the situations I was in. The truth is, I had to fight against my insecurities to feel secure with myself, knowing that I am just like any other human being,” he said.

What do you think of the story of Bokang? Let us know in the comments below.

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