Christian Lee feels privileged to learn from father ahead of toughest bout in his career
Fathers play many roles in parenting responsibilities to their children. Some are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives, while others work on only selective facets. Regardless of which areas a father chooses, this relationship begins the journey towards an inevitable bond between parent and offspring. This attachment spills over into other territories such as sports.
Many professional athletes have groomed their sons to learn their craft and pursue a future in the sporting industry. In boxing, many father-and-son tandems have emerged. Despite the lack of common genes between Floyd Patterson and his adopted son Tracy Harris, boxing hooligans watched with mouths agape over their championship conquest. Avid aficionados intently followed the Mayweather’s derisive relationship beyond the ropes. Ditto goes with Julio Cesar Chavez’s bequeathal of his boxing legacy to Julio Cesar Jr. and Omar.
There are only a few father-and-son duos in mixed martial arts, but up-and-coming martial arts superstar Christian “The Warrior” Lee enjoys the luxury of working side-by-side with his biological father Ken as his head trainer. Christian, who is the younger brother of ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, has impressed in his first few outings inside the ONE Championship cage. The 19-year-old Singaporean standout began his professional career on an absolute tear, railing off five-straight victories by thrilling first-round finish while only encountering one setback. His growing skill set crows unorthodox and unpredictable striking techniques, as well as technical grappling and creative submission maneuvers.
Despite his ongoing success as a dauntless competitor in ONE Championship, Christian did not mince his words in giving credit to his father. “My father is everything. He is the sole reason for my development as a competitor, as a martial artist, and as a man. I owe all of my success and future success to him,” he said. Ken, a Singaporean based in Hawaii for the past 15 years, has practiced martial arts ever since childhood. He holds black belts in Brazilian Jujitsu, Pankration, and Tae-kwon-do. He is also a sixth-degree Hap Do Sool master black belt.
The Lee family’s patriarch has been in Christian’s corner since he first introduced his son to martial arts at an early age. “I feel very blessed to have my father in my corner. He brings the support of a coach, a parent, and a friend,” Christian stated. “He is a real-life superman.”
According to Christian, learning martial arts is a big part of the Lee household as it instills discipline and character formation. “My dad has instilled countless lessons into my life, but there are two things that have stuck with me the most. First is to run your own race, meaning to focus on your path and not compare yourself to others. Second is to work harder than anyone could ever expect of you,” he shared.
Notwithstanding of how he and his siblings were raised, Christian stands pat on having no regrets and is grateful to his parents for introducing him to martial arts as they were growing up. “My parents have shown me the perfect roadmap to raising a family, and I hope that one day I can be as great of a parent as they are to me,” he asserted. Under Ken’s tutelage, his children continued to experience success. Angela has won all eight of her matches, capturing and defending the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship along the way.
Meanwhile, Christian won his first five bouts in just a year, finishing all of his opponents in the first round. However, he experienced his first career loss in August 2016. Christian reinserted his name into the winner’s column last April when he defeated Wan Jian Ping of China by way of first-round technical knockout. After notching a scintillating victory over Wan Jian Ping four months ago, Christian’s mettle will be tested once more as he is set duke it out with fellow prospect Keanu Subba of Malaysia on the undercard of ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS on 18 August.
Subba is one of the most promising young talents on ONE Championship’s roster as he is on an incredible run in the organization’s featherweight division. In addition, Subba just recently figured in a first-round submission win over Ahmed Mujtaba this past February. With his father behind him again, Christian is confident that he will have his hand raised in triumph at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS, which takes place at the iconic Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “My father is the man responsible for all of my success. I would not be where I am today, and I would not take this bout without him,” he conveyed.
“I really believe the family bond we have is what brought us to the top so fast. It is hard trying to come up as a professional martial artist, especially at a young age. But with the tight-knit family bond we have, I feel there is nothing anyone in this family could not do, because when one person in the family does something, everyone is behind you. Our family bond is what makes us so successful,” Christian added.
Still motivated to become the best featherweight on the planet, Christian resumes his prizefighting career on 18 August in the hopes that the lessons he learned from his father will translate into his future success. “The whole world will see my true potential in this sport. I feel as if I matured so much because of my first career loss. It allowed me to become a better martial artist, and I definitely feel the changes I have made in my game, my competition style, and my training. It is definitely going to pay off in the long run,” he ended.