Three prominent Cambodian Kun Khmer fighters – Thoeun Theara, Phal Sophorn and Roeung Sophorn – all claimed International Professional Combat Council (IPCC) world titles at the September 30 octagonal ring event at Town Arena, although popular Kun Khmer exponent Prum Samnang failed to secure a win in his match.
Theara and Samnang were matched to foreign pugilists, and fought for IPCC Kun Khmer Intercontinental belts.
Theara secured his first IPCC title, defeating three time champion Sabri Benhyena of Tunisia. Benhyena was forced to accept two standing counts from the referee, after a flurry of clean punches by Theara.
“I tried to use my elbow from the very first round to intimidate my opponent into keeping his distance. I probably only used 60 or 70 per cent of the power in my elbow. My opponent was strong – he didn’t give up and attacked me when I got a little careless,” Theara said after the match.
Prum Samnang, another well-known fighter, was unable to defeat his opponent Banasak Pawell, a WBC champion from the US, losing on points from all five judges. Fight fans noted that Samnang struggled to close and use his knee and elbow strikes against the 1.94m American.
Pawell utilized his own knee strikes effectively throughout the bout, and also stunned Samnang with a vicious elbow to the face. Samnang remained courageous, but was unable to find a way through his taller opponent’s defences.
Roeung Sophorn and Phall Sophorn both claimed Wurkz World IPCC Kun Khmer titles, with Roeung Sophorn defeating Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Ihara, himself a former title holder. Phall Sophorn was able to defeat his Thai opponent, Changpuak Jesada, on points.
On the same day, a mas format bout took place between Pich Sambath and Brazilian Alexsandro, known as the “Wild Buffalo”. Neither of the men could secure the knockout needed to claim victory in the single nine-minute round format, forcing the referee to declare a second round. Sambath fought on, taking victory in the sixth minute of the second round.
Alongside the title fights, three international friendly matches were also held.
Cambodia-based Nigerian fighter Munonye Emmanuel Onyedikachi, known as Manu, lost to Thai fighter Nilmungkorn Sudsakorngym, while local hero Chhoeung Lvai defeated Italian Matin Meoni, with Chhut Serey Vanthong taking down his Japanese rival Kamemoto Yusho.