How ONE Title Challenger Lost 130 Pounds to Compete

ONE Championship’s Agilan Thangalapani (or Thani for short) used mixed martial arts to help him lose 130 pounds.

“I was very fat when I started training in martial arts at the age of 13,” Thani said when telling his story to ONE Championship. “Back then, I started with karate, but I did not manage to lose weight because I had very bad eating habits.”

Pictures of Thani’s weight loss can be seen below.

“At the age of 16, I started training in other martial arts, but not because I was getting teased, bullied, or picked on. It was because of a Chinese movie called SPL: Sha Po Lang, which starred Donnie Yen. In the movie, there was a fight scene that caught my attention. It got me fascinated with martial arts. I started to research the types of martial arts that Donnie Yen used.”

Eventually, Thani started taking Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes. Shortly after, he started to lose weight. However, he still had bad eating habits and wasn’t in fighting shape.

“At the age of 18, I started to work in Monarchy MMA in return for free classes. Smart, right? I was told by my boss and coach Samir [Mrabet] that if I wanted to work there, I had to be in shape, so I combined my training with an easy and friendly diet with the help of some professionals.”

Thani continued to lose weight and realized he wanted to be a fighter. At just 21 years old, Thani is undefeated with six wins.

Thani is currently scheduled to fight ONE Welterweight Champion Ben Askren at ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes on May 26 in Singapore.