Cambodian fans will have to wait a little longer before the most brutal form of martial arts comes to town.
Gerald Ng, CEO of the World Lethwei Championship (WLC), said they are looking at another date for holding their biggest event of the same name in Cambodia.
Phnom Penh was originally scheduled to host the World Lethwei Championship last month, but the coronavirus outbreak forced for its postponement to a later. It would have been the first time for Cambodia to host the biggest event for Lethwei, a martial art from Myanmar where competitors fight bare-knuckled.
“We are currently working towards doing the show we postponed in Phnom Penh. Tentative return date will be sometime in September,” he said in an email.
In the run-up to the big event in Phnom Penh, the WLC announced the signing of two kickboxing champions, Sweden’s Mathias Jonsson and Australian-Burmese athlete Ray J Virajahntorn to its roster of superstars.
“This is the first of several key signings for World Lethwei Championship, who have sent scouts to various parts of the world to find the world’s best strikers,” the WLC said in a press release.
The multi-titled Jonsson is among the most exciting fighters in the world.
Jonsson, it was learned, was signed through The Riel Team. The Riel Team is a Cambodia-based fight promotion and management team.
He will be the first Swedish fighter to compete in the Burmese organisation and was among the prominent foreign fighters who were supposed to come to Cambodia last month for the World Lethwei Championship.
The plan to hold the World Lethwei Championship in Cambodia is part of the efforts to make it better known outside Myanmar. In addition to Cambodia, the other targets for Lethwei expansion include Japan and the United States.
Cambodians are among the biggest fans of Lethwei. According to Ng, Cambodians make up 20 percent of our social media fan base across the various platforms.
Martial arts are very popular in Cambodia. The fact that Lethwei has many similarities to Cambodia’s Bokator and Kun Khmer makes it an easy fit in the Kingdom and its legion of martial arts fans.