Revered Cambodian kickboxer Ei Phouthang apparently didn’t need to be in shape to take on Australian Brettashey Franklin, whom he flattened seconds into round two of their bout Sunday.
Ei Phouthang, 24, knocked out Franklin, 19, with two devastating right kicks to the head and arms. It was Franklin’s 11th fight, and Ei Phouthang’s 156th.
The knockout came after a slow first round in which the fighters exchanged a few tentative kicks. Ei Phouthang started round two with a strong right kick that put Franklin on the ropes, and followed up almost immediately with the two final blows.
Controversy has surrounded Ei Phouthang’s return to boxing after nearly a year’s hiatus. Oum Youran, first vice president of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association, has said repeatedly that he worried Ei Phouthang was not yet in condition for a comeback.
After Sunday’s fight, he said Franklin was too inexperienced an opponent.
“Ei Phouthang needs to be trained very hard, as I can see he has a belly,” Oum Youran said.
In October, Ei Phouthang lost to Sudanese champion Faisan Nakaria when their much-touted Phnom Penh fight ended in a fifth-round knockout.
Boxing officials have said Ei Phouthang must win two bouts against foreign opponents to face Nakaria again.
On March 16, the former champion knocked out Australian Perikli Maniatis in round one.
However, his easy victory over Franklin led officials to say that he needs to prove himself in further bouts against tougher opponents.
(Additional reporting by Nicholas Seeley)