Filipino mixed martial artist Danny “The King” Kingad, 22, was eight years old when he lost his father. After his father’s death, he fell into bad company and was heavily influenced in leading a life that he was not proud of.
Training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines, Kingad is one of the most promising ONE Championship athletes today. Recently, he shared some details of his childhood, which was not a fairytale.
“I had lost my way back in my elementary school days,” Kingad revealed. “I fell into a bad crowd. Me and my friends back then would skip school.”
“I dropped out of school twice,” the Team Lakay fighter added. “I would not come home, and my mother would come looking for me. Sometimes, they would find me sleeping on the streets.”
Without a strong male role model to guide him, Kingad frequently skipped school, sold bootleg merchandise, and even slept on the streets. At the beginning of his junior year of high school, he stumbled onto the right path when his cousin and Team Lakay member Roldan Sangcha-an introduced him to Wushu.
“My family never gave up on me,” Kingad shared. “They kept pushing me even though I resisted. I did not want to let them down.”
“When I discovered martial arts, from that point on, my life changed,” the ONE Championship athlete added. “There was all this positivity coming from martial arts. I gradually distanced myself from all my vices and got rid of my bad habits.”
Kingad excelled in the discipline and dedicated himself to his training. He earned a scholarship to attend the University of the Cordilleras to compete as part of the school’s varsity Wushu squad.
At the academic institution, Kingad crossed paths with Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, who also handles the college’s Wushu program. Under the tutelage of Sangiao, Kingad won a regional Wushu championship in 2015 and built an impressive record of 29 wins and 1 loss in the discipline.
With a natural talent in Wushu and dedication to the art, Kingad got an offer from Sangiao to join Team Lakay, which he admittedly could not refuse. Years later, the former became one of the top contenders in the flyweight division of ONE Championship.
On September 22, 2018, Kingad will compete in the ONE Championship cage for the seventh time. He will face promotional debutante Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu, 23, of Kagoshima, Japan at “ONE: Conquest of Heroes,” which will take place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Having Sangiao sitting on the coach’s stool to give instructions in the heat of the action, Kingad is confident that he could pull off a decisive victory in his next assignment on the ONE Championship stage. The ONE Championship athlete said, “My victories are his victories.”
“At Team Lakay, we learn from each other through our shared experiences,” Kingad shared. “It is one of the best things about our little family. With Coach Mark by my side, I am confident that I will be able to ace my upcoming test.”
Meanwhile, here is a clip from one of Kingad’s previous ONE Championship bouts: