For WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the hardships came early in life.
With his Muay Thai career going nowhere, Srisaket discovered professional boxing, which gave him the impression that it could be his ticket out of poverty due to the sport's profitability.
However, Srisaket's transition to boxing was not a walk in the park as he was knocked out in his first two bouts in 2009.
"I needed the money very badly, so I accepted the fight even though I didn't have much time to prepare and didn't really know how to box. I just knew that boxing has similarities to Muay Thai," he recalled.
"There were only two paths to choose for me at that time. One was to become a boxer and the other was to keep on working as a trash collector, and I chose the path to become a boxer because there's more hope at least. There's some hope in this career."
Srisaket did not post a win until his fourth professional match in November 2009 when he scored a third-round knockout over compatriot Prakaipech Aunsawan.
After suffering another loss to Japanese Kenji Oba in February 2010, Srisaket joined Nakornloung Promotion (NKL) camp, the team that built several world champions for Thailand, and reeled off 26-straight victories, including an eighth-round stoppage of Yota Sato to clinch the WBC super flyweight title in May 2013.
Although his impressive winning streak was halted by Mexico's Carlos Cuadras in May 2014, the fighter, known in Thailand as Srisaket Nakornloung Promotion, established another series of triumphs, winning 19 contests with 16 coming by way of knockout.
During that remarkable stretch, he recaptured the WBC super flyweight belt by pulling off an upset win against Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez of Nicaragua via a majority decision at New York's Madison Square Garden in March 2017.
Srisaket knocked out Gonzalez in the fourth round in a rematch at StubHub Center in California in September.
He then retained the title by beating Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada with a majority decision at the Los Angeles Forum in February.
"I never thought that I would come this far or even get to be a world champion. I only aspired to win a regional title and maybe get on television. I wound up doing so much more," Srisaket disclosed.
After making a quick work of South Korea's Bae Young-Gil in a warm-up bout last month, Srisaket is set to make his debut at ONE Championship.
A mixed martial arts organisation that was established in 2011, ONE Championship recently announced its partnership with Nakornloung Promotion to co-promote the next title defence of Srisaket.
"I am happy and honoured to take part in this historical ONE Championship's event. I was at ONE Championship's event in Bangkok earlier this year, and it blew my mind with its world-class production, entertainment, and fights. I would also like to thank everyone who made this possible," he said.
Srisaket puts his WBC super-flyweight crown on the line against a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the main event of ONE: Kingdom of Heroes which is scheduled at Muang Thong Thani's Impact Arena on Oct 6.