In a striking fusion of tradition and ambition, Cambodian boxers Thoeun Theara and Prum Samnang set their sights on global recognition.
They're aiming to claim world belt titles at the TECHO SANTEPHEAP Kun Khmer World Championship, the first of its kind held in Cambodia. Scheduled for the evening of July 16 at the Town Ring, the event also includes top local pugilists vying for glory.
Samnang gears up to fight Nikita, a powerhouse from Belarus, in the 77kg category. Meanwhile, Theara, in the 72kg category, prepares for his showdown with Romanian boxer Alex Bublea.
These championship bouts, each consisting of three rounds, promise fierce competition and a chance for the victors to secure coveted title belts.
At a news conference on July 12, Samnang expressed his determination.
“This belt is beautiful and I desire it. No matter the strength of my opponent, I remain confident. I tell myself that I must persevere, be strong, and win," he enthused.
Theara, freshly recovered from a broken right hand, has the same fire in his belly.
Focused on overcoming Bublea, he asserted: "I love this belt and yearn for it. Despite never having faced the Romanian boxer, I maintain a 70 per cent confidence in victory. For this comeback, I've put in rigorous training as my injured hand has now completely healed."
The championship is not just a showcase of top-tier talent but also a platform for international friendly matches.
Cambodian boxers Roeung Sophorn, Phal Sophorn, Pich Sambath, Manu Selpak and Yen Dina are each eager to best their foreign opponents.
Sophorn, a renowned master of the fist, faces Thai boxer Changpuak Jesada in the 69kg category.
"I'm thrilled to participate in such a momentous match in Cambodia, and eager to retaliate against Jesada, who bested me a decade ago. I'm committed to delivering a strong performance and believe I have an excellent chance of defeating him," Sophorn declared.
A recent Cambodian citizen originally from Romania, Manu Selpak, is scheduled to fight Lao boxer Chatsakmai Chatchakwam in the 85kg category.
Despite the weight advantage held by his opponent, Manu said: “I'm extremely happy with such significant events in Cambodia because it raises the profile of Kun Khmer. Despite the weight disparity, I have strong confidence in myself and I hope to knock him out. I am very confident I will win on points".
Additional matches include Phal Sophorn versus Portuguese fighter Miguel Trindade in the 65kg category, Pich Sambath against Thai fighter Petchlampoon Por Chareonpat in the 60kg category, and Yen Dina steps in for his junior E Am Marin Phuong Thong to fight Russian boxer Solovev Sergei in the 65kg category.
Each Cambodian boxer exhibited strong confidence and a burning desire to win.
Kim Srun Kosal, an adviser to Town Group, hailed the event as a milestone.
“The Techo Santepheap Kun Khmer World Champion marks another landmark in the rich history of our Kun Khmer. It's a wonderful opportunity to promote Kun Khmer internationally. I hope this grand event will help our Kun Khmer gain more widespread fame".