Cambodia’s unprecedented 1st International Kun Khmer boxing competition wrapped up on Sunday evening at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh with organisers hailing the success of the inaugural edition.
At a press conference prior to the bouts, Vath Chamroeun, the secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee, said the Kun Khmer-Cambodian martial arts competition was a spectacular event, as the country seeks to promote its martial arts on the international stage.
The secretary-general, himself a former Olympic wrestler, added that this competition would be a vital first step in achieving Olympic recognition.
Fighters from 11 countries from a far afield as Nigeria and Ukraine participated in the tournament, with a total of 23 pairs divided into different weight classes.
Cambodian boxing luminaries like Long Sophy, Roueng Sophorn, Chan Rothana, Khun Dhima, Eh Yanuth and Sen Bunthen all took part in the competition, which piqued the curiosity of fans.
The shock of the tournament came on Saturday after renowned Cambodian champion Bunthen was defeated by journeyman Ukrainian Kolibenko Valentin on the scorecards. Bunthen struggled to keep pace with his younger opponent and by the fifth round was visibly exhausted.
After suffering the unexpected loss, Bunthen revealed that he was disappointed with his performance. He added that he was unable to make a breakthrough due to the onset of fatigue entering the fourth round.