Country boy to WBC champion: Seán Clancy living his best life in Thailand
It’s evening time in Thailand and Seán Clancy has just made a Barry’s Tea after yet another day’s training.
His simple routine hasn’t changed much over the past three years of living a secluded life in Southeast Asia.
Muay Thai, by his own admission, has become his world, and his only ambition is to be the best version of himself.
The repetitive routine may be the same, but one thing has certainly changed – Seán is now a WBC International champion.
Obtaining the famous green belt was “like winning the lottery” back in March, and Seán said he could spend hours speaking about that moment.
He is returning to Irish soil for more glory on July 20 to fight Italy’s Alessandro Sara for the vacant WBC super-lightweight Muaythai world title – this time in the Neptune Stadium.
LEESIDE REVOLUTION – READ: MARTIN HORGAN’S LONG-TIME VISION TO BRING BOXING BACK TO CORK
Drinking tea, his little reminder of home, Seán spoke to Fightstore Media in a way that represented the modesty of a Nak Muay.
Despite all he has achieved, Seán was actually late to the show.
“I played zero sport growing up,” he explained.
“If you had asked any of my school friends who would turn into a professional fighter, I would be the last on the list,” he laughed.
Seán added: “I hope it encourages people to never set a time to anything in life.”
He learned about the art of eight limbs under Martin Horgan in Siam Warriors Cork – where he drove 40 to 50 minutes into the city just to train.
“Martin still mocks me to this day,” Seán joked. “I was a country boy in the gym, and I was asking for a fight after one week’s training – he said it doesn’t work like that.”
Seán continued to set goals, from getting a first fight, trying an A-Class bout to winning an Irish title.
He then moved all the way to Thailand, just to immerse himself in a country where Muay Thai is a way of life, not just a mere hobby.
“If you want to succeed in anything you have to leave your comfort zone,” Seán said.
“Where better to push yourself further? In Thailand you are a beginner again and there is always something more to learn – that’s the beauty and addiction of it.”
Seán recalled his first trip to Thailand when teammate Aaron O Callaghan brought him over for a training camp.
“I remember thinking I’ve never been on the other side of the world and what have I got myself into,” Seán laughed.
He is now an experienced martial artist with 61 bouts and has even been pulled back by his coaches at Yodyut Gym for once wanting to fight all the time.
Sean admitted to his stubbornness, and his never give up attitude saw him go on and share the ring with the legendary Saenchai.
There is no pot of gold available after years of such strict dedication, so why push himself to such extremes?
“You’re not going to see a Thai Boxer driving a Ferrari any time soon,” he said. “Why we do it I don’t know.
“I still ask myself why I picked this sport with no money,” Seán laughed.
“It’s not easy, it is sacrifice after sacrifice and it’s just for the love of the sport.”
Seán said he was blessed to have the support of his family and acknowledged that he is aware of the stress his fights cause.
He added that the backing from fans at home means the world.
“For me that’s everything,” he began. “Without them I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m clearly not here for the money.
“Thai fighters are always looking for sponsors to get food on the table to survive one training session to the next. To have people behind me is a magical thing.”
Seán will travel home one week before his big fight, something which brings obvious challenges considering the six-hour time difference.
“It’s shit,” Seán said honestly after explaining that the long plane journey was his only chance of rest.
However, he is relishing his return and is in daily contact with the people of Siam Warriors Cork.
Another iconic night of combat is coming to Cork at Leeside Revolution, and Seán said it was all down to promoter Martin Horgan.
“He is a man of magic and has proved it time and time again,” he said. “He brought the cage into Muay Thai and the MMA gloves in Ireland and time and time again he gives fans what they want to see.
“I always say he has sold himself to the devil because how he does what he does I don’t know, it’s crazy.
“He put himself there and worked for it, he didn’t just get lucky one day.
“To anyone back home, get ready for history to be made. Martin Horgan has done it again, trust him and come and witness this.”
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Photos – KO Media