Aung La N Sang, who currently holds the ONE Championship middleweight and light heavyweight titles, is a massive star in his native Myanmar. So massive, in fact, that he’s been honored with a pretty awesome statue in Manau Park in his hometown of Myitkyina.
Aung La N Sang discussed this incredible honor in a post on his official Instagram page. Apparently, he wasn’t sure about the idea at first, but as come to see it as a way to inspire a whole generation of young people in his country.
“When I heard the news about this statue being built I was shocked and was totally against it,” Aung La N Sang said. “I am just coming to the prime of my career and don’t want anymore added pressure. I was also worried about the hate that would come out of people who disagree with building this statue. But this is not about me. It’s a reminder for all the boys and girls born in Dukatawng or anywhere else in Myanmar that, they too can become a World Champion or whatever they set their hearts and minds into becoming.”
The two-division ONE titleholder also discussed his status as a national hero in another post.
“The love is unreal for me in my hometown in Myitkyina,” he said. “It a real honor for my family and I to receive this kind of welcoming”
Aung La N Sang last fought in October, when he defended his middleweight belt with a first-round knockout of the formerly undefeated Mohammad Karaki. His next most recent fight occured in July, when he defended the same title with a fifth-round stoppage of Ken Hasegawa in a 2018 Fight of the Year contender.
The champ is currently on a five-fight win-streak in ONE Championship, having not lost since a decision defeat to former champ Vitaly Bigdash. He’s expected to fight again in early 2019, perhaps in a light heavyweight title fight with slimmed down ONE heavyweight champ Brandon Vera.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/16/2018.