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Rithy withdraws from Jakarta

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Thai Rithy was expected to make a return to the cage to face Anthony Engelen. Reuters

Cambodian Top Team prospect Thai Rithy has been forced to withdraw from his much anticipated bout in Jakarta later this month after suffering an injury.

Rithy was expected to make a return to the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) cage to face Dutch-Indonesian foe Anthony Engelen at ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 19.

Rithy’s last ONE appearance came in November 2017’s ONE Championship: Legends of the World in Manila. There, he was outmuscled by Chinese debutant Zhao Zhi Kang.

In the first bout on the main card, Zhao needed less than three minutes to put Rithy on the mat and finish the contest by rear-naked choke.

After flattening the Cambodian on the mat, Zhao slipped his forearm under the chin and locked in a rear-naked choke. Rithy had nowhere to go and was forced to tap out at 2:31 of the opening round.

Rithy’s first bout on a ONE had come just two months earlier, where he knocked out Jerome S Paye of Liberia in the second round at ONE: Total Victory in Indonesia. Engelen, an IFC Lightweight Champion, will instead face a South Korean competitor Won Il Kwon.

The news will be disappointing for Cambodian fans of MMA who witnessed Selapak’s Chan Rothana and US-based Sovannary Em score huge wins for the kingdom at last month’s ONE: Destiny of Champions In Kuala Lumpur. With less than a minute to go in round two, Rothana dropped the Indonesian with a powerful knee, and then finished him off with strikes on the ground to cement the win.

Cambodian-American Sovannahry Em made it a Khmer one-two as she kick-started her ONE career with an impressive win over Iryna “Delsa” Kyselova in the first round of their 63.5-kilogram catch weight bout.

Topping the bill on January 19 will be ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio defending his coveted belt against Japanese contender Yosuke Saruta.

The young Filipino phenom will stop at nothing to claim victory against Saruta, a Shooto Strawweight World Champion who has conquered the Japanese scene.

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