Brazilian boxer Thiago Teixeira and his wife Roma Maria Rozanska-Steffen have been officially granted Cambodian citizenship by King Norodom Sihamoni through a royal decree at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
According to the decree dated April 11, Thiago and his family are granted citizenship via naturalisation. Thiago was born on July 28, 1988 in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, and his wife Rozanska-Steffen was born in 1983 in Poland and later became a US citizen.
Hun Sen dropped the hint of citizenship for Thiago on April 8 after providing him $20,000 as support as the Brazilian boxer represented Cambodia when he won the World Muay Thai Organization (WMO) World Championship Belt at the Apex Fight Series in Germany on April 1.
“As long as this isn’t illegal in Brazil, I will request that the King grant Cambodian citizenship to Thiago,” the premier said at the time.
The WMO belt Thiago won was subsequently withdrawn by the WMO on the grounds that he was not competing in Muay Thai, but instead practising the Kun Khmer martial art.
Thiago said he had no regrets about leaving Muay Thai even though he had trained and competed in it since he was 16-years-old, claiming that the WMO had never valued or supported his efforts to promote the sport during his 17-year career.
Thiago is now focusing on Kun Khmer boxing, saying he already considers Cambodia his home. He is not currently competing against Cambodian boxers in matches as he is focused on taking on foreign fighters in order to better promote Kun Khmer to the world in gratitude for all of the support he has received from Cambodia’s people and top leaders.
“I have a good feeling about staying in Cambodia and I want to live here forever because I consider Cambodia my home country. I am determined to work hard to promote Kun Khmer to the world,” he said.
Thiago was speaking at a press conference in Phnom Penh after signing a contract with the World Champion Kun Khmer Club, run by Khmer Boxing Federation honorary vice-president Srey Chanthorn.
He said he plans to invite other foreign players to relocate to Cambodia and join the Kun Khmer Club to continue to expand the sport and its popularity worldwide.
On April 11, Thiago also participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the World Champion Kun Khmer Stadium at Jet’s Garden Park, owned by Chanthorn.
At the event, Chanthorn claimed that this would be the first Kun Khmer stadium in Cambodia and the first-ever in the world. He also chimed in on Thiago’s new Cambodian citizenship, offering his congratulations.
“The good news today is that Thiago and his family have been granted Cambodian citizenship. On behalf of Thiago and his family, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to [Prime Minister Hun Sen]. Without [Hun Sen] requesting citizenship for Thiago it would have been impossible for him to obtain it at this time,” he said.