12 Sep Before becoming kickboxing icon, Fabrice Fairtex Delannon had stars to look up to as well
Highly-decorated Muay Thai practitioner “The Funky Drummer” Fabrice Fairtex Delannon is regarded as one of the best to come out of France.
The 36-year old French-Guianese striker has won world championships in two weight divisions, as well as a former Gold and Silver Belt titleholder and a three-time MAX Muay Thai World Champion.
With a 55-10 professional record to go with all those accolades, it is safe to say that Delannon is a master in his chosen craft.
At ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES on 22 September in Jakarta, Indonesia, Delannon makes his return to the ONE Championship stage to take on a fellow Muay Thai master in six-time world champion Yodpanomrung “The Lightning Knee” Jitmuangon of Thailand in a ONE Super Series Bantamweight Muay Thai bout.
Before Delannon became an accomplished martial artist, he was like most people, a fan.
Growing up moving back-and-forth from French Guiana and France, Delannon found an appreciation for the sport of boxing.
As a fan of the sport known as “The Sweet Science,” Delannon looked up to a pair of boxing’s biggest names.
“When I was young, it was Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson,” Delannon shared on ONE Championship’s official website.
“I was seven years old when I saw Tyson on TV, defending his world titles. That was a huge inspiration to me,” he continued.
His appreciation for the sport led Delannon to the boxing gym at age 12, and with Tyson and Jones as his main inspirations, he worked tirelessly to develop as a pugilist.
Just two years after first putting on a pair of boxing gloves, Delannon took part in his first amateur bout.
While the bout ended in a stalemate, it was indeed the start of what would be a long and fruitful journey into martial arts.
Eventually, Delannon, like all aspiring athletes, yearned to be the best in his field.
“When I was 15 and boxing as an amateur, I dreamed of being a world champion,” he stated.
Adding fuel to his desire was seeing one of his countrymen actually get that far.
After looking up to established names like Tyson and Jones, Delannon made fellow French Guianese boxer Jacobin Yoma as his source of inspiration.
“I saw one guy, Jacobin Yoma, do it,” Delannon said. “I saw him succeed and win the world title. I thought that if he can do it, I could make it.”
Yoma was a super featherweight boxer who competed from 1989 to 1999, putting together a 40-11-3 professional boxing record with 21 wins via knockout.
During his career, Yoma captured regional titles, as well as EBU and WBC championships.
Sadly for Delannon, an injury would come between him and his dreams of becoming a world champion in boxing as it would force him to step away from the sport.
Still, the competitive fire continued to burn brightly for Delannon, and he eventually found his way into Muay Thai.
Soon, his life would revolve around “The Art of Eight Limbs,” prompting a move to Thailand, where he’s based now, to fully commit himself to the discipline.
Much like he did with boxing, Delannon found some icons in Muay Thai to latch on to, providing inspiration and motivation needed to excel in the rigorous martial art.
“The golden era of Muay Thai in the 1990s, Silapathai, Lerdsila, and Karuhat – those were the ones that inspired me in Muay Thai,” he expressed.
Delannon also mentioned stars such as Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Saenchai and Buakaw as other names he followed.
Now, years after first setting foot in a gym, Delannon is a star in his own right, with young, aspiring martial artists looking up to him as well.
Still, he finds himself as motivated and as competitive as ever, hungry to prove that he has what it takes to be one of the best in the world.
“I want to face the best Muay Thai athletes in the world. I want the feeling of facing the number one, the real world champion,” he proudly declared.
Aside from the glory of a world championship, Delannon likewise desires to be able to give back and help kids that are looking to make martial arts a way of life.
“These challenges still motivate me now. Beyond that, I am motivated to continue to learn the art of Muay Thai, to educate those kids that were like me, to point them in a good direction, and to help them to succeed,” he ended.