Cambodia’s most famous kickboxing veteran Ei Phouthang said Sunday that he was contemplating retirement from the ring following his dismal showing Saturday night against an Australian boxer who took a convincing win over five rounds at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
A veteran of more than 200 fights with 110 knock-out wins, 36-year-old Ei Phouthang, who looked badly out of shape and sluggish in his 85 kg fight against Adam Shahirkayoon, said he plans to move to the other side of the ropes.
“I will stop boxing to be a coach, but I am not sure when,” Ei Phouthang said by telephone Sunday.
“I train every day and never miss it,” said Ei Phouthang, who blamed his defeat on problems with his diet and his new home in Dangkao district, which is far from his RCAF training club near the Old Stadium.
Oum Yourann, president of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Federation, who was present for the Saturday evening fights where three other Cambodian boxers were victorious, said Ei Phouthang’s advanced age was against him but his popularity still keeps him in the ring.
“The rules say that athletes must be under 30 years old, but he is now 36 years old. However, the sponsors and fans like to see him in the ring,” Oum Yourann said.
Meas Sokry, a referee at the fights and CABF judge, said he was impressed that Ei Phouthang even lasted until the fifth round since he began retreating from his opponent in the second round.
“He should retire and begin his coaching job,” he said.
Chhit Sarim, Ei Phouthang’s coach, said his fighter trained regularly but didn’t take enough time to rest afterward and spent too much time going out with his friends. He said that retirement would be the best option.
“He might have won the match if he rested enough,” he added.
Prime Minister Hun Sen donated prize money of $1,000 to each of the four Cambodian fighters, said Meas Sokry, who listed the three Cambodian winners as Vorn Viva, Noun Soriya and Ei Phouthang’s younger brother, Outh Phouthang.