Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cambodia Won International Kickboxing Tournament

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Three Cambodian Kun Khmer kick-boxers have competed with three selected e foreign boxers from Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on August 20 in Phnom Pen in order to exchange their techniques and fighting experiences. The boxing competition was organized by Cambodian Television Network (CTN) in collaboration with the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) in order to promote Khmer traditional boxing, known as Kun Khmer Kick-boxing in the rest of the world. Two Cambodian Kun Khmer boxers, Vorn Viva and Thun Sophea, won their matches, while the fight of Sen Bunthen against the Russian Ervant Atagyan ended in a draw.

Vorn Viva, 23, weight 73 kg, a World Class Kick-Boxing Champion from Preah Khan Reach Club at the Military Police Headquarters, competed with Charlie Gillispie, 21, weight 73 kg, from the United Kingdom. Thun Sophea, 26, weight 69, from the Ministry of National Defense’s Boxing Association, fought with Zidov Akuma, 28, weight 69 kg from Switzerland. Sen Bunthen, 24, weight 68 kg, member of the Ministry of Interior’s Boxing Association, competed with Ervant Atagyan, 22, weight 68 kg, from Russia.

Vorn Viva, the only Cambodian Kun Khmer heavyweight fighter has engaged in a total of 24 fights, he won 16, lost 7 and one fight ended in a draw. Charlie Gillispie who has a total of 29 fights recorded, won 24 of them and lost 5. Thun Sopea competed in 99 fights, 94 of them he won, three he lost and two ended in a draw. Zidov Akuma, the Swiss competitor has fought 46 fights, in 33 of them he was victorious, in 13 of them he came out as the loser. Sen Bunthen took part in 40 fights, of this total he won 25. Ervant Atagyan competed in 22 fights, in 18 of them he emerged as the winner.

For Vorn Viva it was not the first time to fight in front of television camera’s nor was it his first time competing against an international boxer. “It is my fourth time that I have competed and won from a foreign boxer. I am very happy that I can maintain my Kun Khmer belt from this competition. To maintain my belt as well as my Kun Khmer skills, I will continue to train harder and continue to fight with foreign boxers in future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Po Vibol, CTN’s Deputy General Director, said that this was the sixth edition of the CTN Kun Khmer International Kick-boxing tournament. The goal of the event is the promote Kun Khmer Boxing, a traditional Cambodian sport in the Kingdom itself but also in the rest of the world. Vibal also said the he hoped the event would attract more foreign tourist to visit Cambodia. He hoped that more people would familiarize themselves with Cambodian culture, and that the increases tourist numbers would generate jobs for Cambodian people.

At the press conference held on August 19 the Deputy General Director stated: “We are proud to be the organizers of the Kun Khmer International kick-boxing competition. This event helps to preserve Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing, which is a valuable part of our culture for future generations of Cambodians. Also we can show the world what Kun Khmer Kick-boxing is.”

The Deputy General Director pointed out that since the Cambodian Television Network started organizing the Kun Khmer International Kick-Boxing tournament in 2003, two Cambodian boxers won the World Class Kick-Boxing Championship. He added that Kun Khmer Kick-boxing gained recognizing in the rest of the world, partly because of events like the international tournament. “Before, many people in the world only knew Muy Thai. They thought that kick-boxing (Muy Thai) belongs to Thailand. However, due to our hard work and our continue promotion, they now started to learn about Kun Khmer. It is a great accomplishment for Cambodia,” he said.

Oum Yurann, President of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA), said that in order to develop and promote Kun Khmer in future, CABA will continue to organize more national and international Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing competitions in Cambodia as well as sending Cambodian boxers to attend the competition abroad.

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