Cambodian-American female mixed martial artist Savannah Em is finally set to enter the ONE Championship cage for her debut tomorrow as Asia’s largest promotion takes its juggernaut to Kuala Lumpur for this weekend’s ONE: Destiny of Champions.
Em joined the organisation in late 2017, but has yet to compete after being sidelined due to injury in early 2018. She is set to make her ONE debut against Ukrainian Iryna Kyselova.
Introduced to martial arts in 2012, she initially trained in boxing and jiu-jitsu She has since added to her skillset with wrestling, judo and the ancient Khmer martial art of Pradal Serey. Hailing from Long Beach, California, she possesses strong striking ability with all of her wins coming via knockout.
Em said she is excited to compete under the ONE banner and for Asia’s top organisation.
“The first thing that attracted me to ONE Championship has been the fact that its philosophy revolves around true martial arts values like respect, courage, and honour,” said Em.
“Personally, I view martial arts as a tool for self-perfection, so I don’t care for the trash-talking, and other behaviour that is encouraged in many other promotions. I love how ONE strives to promote a positive image of martial arts, rather than a violent sport.”
One of the biggest considerations for Em in joining ONE Championship is that the move will bring her closer to her roots. Although Em spending her entire life in the United States, she has longed to visit the birthplace of her parents – both of whom are Cambodian.
“I very much hope to have a chance to compete in the country of my parents and all my relatives. I’m sure it would also please my Pradal Serey teacher who was a champion before Cambodia entered a dark period of political turmoil,” said Em.
“I’ve had conversations with my family, friends, coaches, learning how they had endured those difficult times, and these people, even after going through such traumatic events, still remain to be some of the sweetest humans I know. But they have told me stories, not just of hardship, but also the beauty of what the culture was and remains to be. It’s an honour to represent that kind of strength and courage. I am excited to discover my roots.”