Cambodians and other fans will have to wait a little longer before they can see their favourite Lethwei fighters in the Kingdom.
The news came after the organisers of the much-anticipated World Lethwei Championship announced that they will have to postpone it once again because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The much-anticipated martial arts event was originally scheduled to be held in Phnom Penh on April 3 but because of the pandemic, the schedule was moved to September 18. It would have marked the first time the World Lethwei Championship was held outside of Myanmar.
But with the ongoing health crisis and with fans mostly not allowed courtside, the World Lethwei Championship (WLC) – the organisation behind the event – decided to postpone it for the foreseeable.
The temporary stoppage of many international flights could be a hindrance when events are given the go-ahead,, especially given that many of the top fighters in the world want to participate in the event. The original list of participants includesd Antonio Faria of Portugal, the current light-welterweight world champion.
“We are not going to do it in September. We are still waiting until we can have some audience in the stadium,” Gerald Ng, CEO of WLC, said.
The organisers have not yet given a new date pending a government decision to allow group events. “We wait for some official documentation from the government once group events are officially allowed again,” he said.
While not mentioning any names, Ng hinted that some of the top players in the world will be in Phnom Penh for the event. “We are recalibrating but will see who the top names are when we do our show,” he said.
In the meantime, the WLC held several Lethwei events in Myanmar, including the WLC 12: Hideout Battle held at Yangon on August 28. It is slated to hold another event called WLC 13: Lethwei Showcase on Sept 25.
Ng earlier said that Cambodia is a priority for the expansion of Lethwei, a martial art form from Myanmar considered to be the most brutal in the world. Japan, Thailand and the United States are other targets for Lethwei expansion.
The sport has a strong fan base in the Kingdom, with more than 100,000 Cambodians following it on social media. Several Cambodian martial artists like Sok Rith, Sok Thy and Nou Srey Pov have made a name in Lethwei.
In Lethwei, the fighters fight bare-knuckled while music plays in the background. The use of fists, feet, elbows, knees and even heads are allowed in the sport. The sport has similarities to Kun Khmer and Bokator.
- Tags: Lethwei fighters