World Lethwei Championship (WLC), one of the world’s most exciting promotions, has confirmed it will bring its martial arts juggernaut to Cambodia in March 2020.
Started in Myanmar to promote the national martial art of lethwei, WLC has proven to be an important cultural export for the country, with a broadcast reach of over 100 million people across 60 countries able to learn about the rich traditions and history of Myanmar. The organisation now hopes to do the same in Cambodia, where Kun Khmer boxing has a strong following but is not widely recognised internationally.
Speaking at an announcement alongside members of the Cambodian MMA Federation and media, WLC CEO Gerald Ng said Cambodia was a logical choice thanks to the longstanding support shown by the kingdom’s fans.
“Super excited to be doing our first international show in Cambodia, he said. “The fans here are passionate about the martials arts and combat sports and their support have been instrumental in the growth of WLC. We have 100,000 Cambodian fans already on social media and it’s crazy the fervour of the fanbase here so it was a logical choice for our first event.”
Ng elaborated on the decision to focus on the kingdom. “Cambodian fans have shown incredible support to WLC’s efforts and have been some of the most passionate fans in the world. We want to be able to channel that passion to put on an incredible event in Cambodia and showcase the culture of Cambodia to the world!”
Hun Chanreach, founder of fight school Cambodian Top Team and secretary general of the kingdom’s MMA federation, was appointed Vice President of WLC and will be integral in ensuring planning for the March event.
Ng explained that the organisation intends to feature the traditional outfit and traditional orchestra of the host country and will also feature a mix of lethwei and kun khmer boxing matches, highlighting the martial arts of both countries.
“For the first time ever, Khmer culture will be showcased on a global platform, said Ng. “We will embrace the culture and traditions of Cambodia so fighters will be dressed in traditional outfits, Khmer orchestra and we will showcase the amazing people of this country and beautiful places in snippets as part of the show to showcase Cambodia to the world.”
WLC already has a sizeable Cambodian contingent in its roster, headlined by WLC’s female fighter of the year for 2018, Nou Srey Pov. Luminaries like Rin Saroth, Roeung Sophorn and Morn Samet have also fought under the promotion. WLC also secured top Kun Khmer fighter Sen Radeth who is widely considered # 1 in his division in the kingdom.
Top-ranked female fighter, Eh Yanut, was the last Cambodian to feature on an WLC card at WLC: King of Nine Limbs in Mandalay, Myanmar on August 5.
For WLC, the chance to bring Lethwei to Cambodia was an opportunity to showcase the martial arts heritage of two of the region’s most ancient civilisations to the world.
“With our broadcast on UFC Fight Pass and other partners, we are able to showcase both Lethwei and Kun Khmer boxing together for the first time, said NG. “Imagine tuning in to World Lethwei Championship and getting to discover two new martial arts!”