The World Lethwei Championship (WLC), the organisation behind the development and promotion of Lethwei, has released the new schedule for its ‘big event’ in Cambodia.
According to the WLC, the World Lethwei Championship will be held in Phnom Penh this coming September 18, more than five months after its original schedule.
This is good news for many fans, who have long waited for Lethwei to finally set foot in Cambodia.
Martial arts are among the most popular sports here. Cambodians often follow, not only Bokator, Kun Khmer and other home-grown martial arts, but also foreign competitions like Universal Fighting Championship (UFC) and One Championship.
“We look forward to working with the local Kun Khmer community and putting on exciting shows for our Cambodian fans,” Gerald Ng, the CEO of WLC, said.
The Cambodia edition of the World Lethwei Championship was originally scheduled for April 3, but its organisers decided against pushing through with the event at that time because of the coronavirus outbreak that swept through the Kingdom and other parts of the world.
If the event pushes through, this will mark the first time the World Lethwei Championship is to be held outside of Myanmar.
The Cambodia event is part of a growing number of events that WLC is planning to hold inside and outside of Myanmar to promote the ancient Burmese martial art.
In Lethwei, fighters compete bare-knuckled and are allowed to use punches, head-butts, elbows, kicks, throws, clinching and other forms of attack to subdue their opponents. This lead to the sport being dubbed as the ‘most brutal martial art in the world’.
Between August 2020 and December 2021, the WLC is scheduled to hold nine blockbuster events across Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan and the United States. According to the television giant ABS-CBN, the Philippines is also among the targets for Lethwei expansion.
To be able to provide high-quality talent to their upcoming shows, the WLC also plans to organise amateur Lethwei bouts and tournaments around the world in the near future.
“We want to revamp the entire infrastructure of Lethwei and provide people the opportunity to be a part of the sport. We want to tap into the millions of viewers and give them the chance to pursue the sport by training in it to achieve their fitness or life goals, or for any aspiring Lethwei athlete to have a pathway towards competing in World Lethwei Championship one day,” Ng said.
“This will give local talents an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of taking the step onto the global stage of World Lethwei Championship, which already reaches 50 million viewers through global platforms such as UFC Fight Pass,” he added.
In the build-up to the World Lethwei Championship and other events, the WLC has been recruiting talent from all over to ensure an impressive roster.
This month, WLC engaged the services of world champions Diogo Calado of Portugal and Nauzet Trujillo of Spain. Prior to that, the organisation was able to recruit Swedish sensation Mathias Jonsson.
Also in the WLC stable are Canadian mixed martial arts superstars Dave Leduc and Filipino-Australian champion Michael Badato.