Federation explains non-selection of boxer
A live video showing the resentment of Keo Rumchong, who was not called up by the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Cambodia Kickboxing Federation (CKBF) to contest the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, has led to allegations of wrongdoing by the famous fighter.
“I am disappointed not to be selected. I won a gold medal at the National Games, so why not include me to raise the profile of the Kingdom when we host the SEA Games?” he says in the January 29 video.
He alleged the kickboxing federation lied to him. After he claimed gold at the national event, he said the federation told him he would be competing. They later dropped him as they were unable to organise an 81kg class at the games.
“I was so excited to get the opportunity to represent the Kingdom. They didn’t let me know that my weight class had been removed from the games until it was far too late. If I had known earlier, I would have lost weight and got light enough to fight. I want to represent Cambodia before I retire, and this will be a huge regret for me. This is compounded by the fact that we are hosting the games for the first time,” he says.
In response, Heng Sokhorn, CKBF president, explained that the exclusion was related to the reality of the competition. The International Kickboxing Federation requested the removal of the heavyweight category from the upcoming games.
“In the 81kg weight category in Kun Khmer, we had the choice of Rumchang or Prom Samnang. Samnang is fitter and has been fighting at this weight for three years, while Rumchang is 90kg and shorter. Who would you have chosen? We have to choose the best fighter in that weight class,” he told The Post on January 30.
Sokhorn, who is also the secretary-general of the Cambodia Boxing Federation, said that the selection of both Kun Khmer fighters and kickboxers has been fair and transparent. After it became obvious that there was no room for Rumchang in the Kun Khmer event, he tried to find space for him in the kickboxing team, but was unsuccessful.
“There was no 81kg class in the kickboxing either, so we submitted a proposal to CAMSOC [the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee] to include it. CAMSOC proposed the 81kg event to other nations, but the International Boxing Federation responded that there are no other potential contenders at this weight. For the same reason, the 75kg, 48kg, and 45kg events were also dropped,” he added.
He explained that the federation had given the other ASEAN nations an additional two months to find fighters who could make the four classes, but they were unsuccessful. Ultimately, all four were dropped from the games.