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Kun Khmer exponent may get Cambodian citizenship after Thai title row

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Brazilian kickboxer Thiago Teixeira holds up his WMO championship belt. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Kun Khmer exponent may get Cambodian citizenship after Thai title row

Having won a victory – in perhaps more than one way – on behalf of Cambodia, Brazilian kickboxer Thiago Teixeira will be provided a $20,000 prize by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who also confirmed that he will ask the King to grant Teixeira Cambodian citizenship, if there is no legal issue with Brazil.

This comes after the World Muay Thai Organisation (WMO) banned Teixeira from the sport and stripped him of his title over his decision to represent Kun Khmer, which has enraged Thailand.

On April 1 at the APEX Fight Series at LKH Arena, Germany, Teixeira knocked out Englishman Joe Craven early in the second round, clinching the WMO middleweight title. As the referee held his hand aloft, Teixeira wrapped himself in the Cambodian flag.

“First of all, I want to thank Jesus Christ, and secondly, I want to thank all my fans, Srey Chanthorn, my mother and the 16 million Cambodians who joined me in this match. The WMO of Kun Khmer originated in Cambodia,” he said in his post-match interview. That last comment may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As a sign of encouragement, ministry leaders and other fans have also given Teixeira money for claiming the world title for Cambodia and to ease his predicament.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith donated $1,000, calling on other Cambodians to chip in. Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona also pitched in with $1,000, according to National Television of Cambodia (TVK).

Khmer Boxing Federation honorary vice-president Srey Chanthorn, who took Teixeira to Angkor Wat to introduce him to the history of Kun Khmer – and sponsored his trip to Germany – announced that he would provide $3,500.

“According to Thiago's agent, Thiago complied with all conditions before and after the match. That is, he had fulfilled all of his duties for the match,” he said.

“I take pity on Thiago, who did not get the money for his final match. As of late, I am waiting to see the situation on the Brazilian side,” he added.


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