Mark "Tyson" Fairtex Abelardo’s love for martial arts is a family affair.
One of the most exciting rising stars in ONE Championship
's bantamweight division, the Thailand-based Filipino shared that he owes his love for martial arts to his father.
Abelardo’s father competed in full-contact karate events in his native Philippines, and he opened a gym when the family moved to New Zealand. The gym turned out to be a playground for the young Abelardo. The rest, as they say, is history.
“I grew up watching and being into martial arts because my dad coached at his school when I was younger,” Abelardo explains.
“I was too young to train at the time, but I was always watching and always with the students. It was not until I was 10 years old that he started training me. I grew up with martial arts.”
Abelardo’s hunger for knowledge in the field of martial arts only further intensified. He watched mixed martial arts events on television with his father, and at the age of 17, he decided to take the jump from karate to mixed martial arts.
His father has always been his number one supporter.
“My dad was all for it,” the 27-year-old says.
“He just loves the sport. He loves martial arts. Having me make the transition and trying that too, he was all for it. He is one of my biggest supporters.”
After winning at ONE Warrior Series 3 last October, Abelardo earned a lucrative contract with ONE Championship, and now the power puncher is currently preparing for his promotional debut against Japan's Daichi Takenaka at ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS
in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday, 16 February.
"Tyson" views this as another opportunity to make his dad proud.
“Every match is a chance to thank my father for inspiring and encouraging me to enter this sport that we both love," he said. "I will go all-out and make sure that my hand will be raised in Bangkok.”