After its Cambodia debut last year, mixed martial arts (MMA) is coming back to Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich Theater next month for ONE Championship’s “Kingdom of Khmer.”
The seven-card cage fighting event will take place on December 5 and will include fighters from across the globe, along with homegrown talent, ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui announced at a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Also speaking at the event, Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and president of the Cambodian Mixed Martial Arts Association, said the world’s fastest growing sport was adding to the country’s rich history of martial arts.
“In order to develop our ancient martial arts, we have to perform two duties, the first is conserving our martial arts and the second is through development, and development is coming through ONE [Championship],” Mr. Chamroeun said.
The main event of the night will be a lightweight showdown between Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes and Russian Rasul Yakhyaev, while flamboyant Japanese fighter Riku Shibuya will take on Thai flyweight Anatpong Bunrad.
Along with the international talent, many locals will be eager to witness the rematch between Chan Rothana and Sam Ang Dun, whose fight at last year’s “Rise of the Kingdom” ended in controversy as the latter was crowned winner after he was floored by an illegal ax kick to the head. The decision left much of the crowd infuriated, as replays appeared to show Rothana had shown no intent.
Contacted yesterday, Mr. Rothana said he was raring to go, and vowed to make amends for last year’s disappointment.
“In the final, I accidentally touched Sam Ang Duong [with my foot] and the judges awarded him the win,” Mr. Rothana said. “I felt very disappointed because it was unintentional but my opponent would not get back up for the fight.”
“I have prepared myself for the upcoming fight in order to get my success back,” he added. “I will not spoil my second chance.”