April 3, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Fighting on behalf of Cambodia for the first time, Brazilian kickboxer Thiago Teixeira drew well earned praise from fight fans when he knocked out Englishman Joe Craven in the second round of their April 2 clash, cinching a world title in the World Muaythai Organisation (WMO).
At the APEX Fight Series at LKH Arena, Germany, Teixeira threw a fast left hand-right elbow combination to drop Craven to the canvas early in the second round.
As the referee held his hand aloft, Teixeira wrapped himself in the Cambodian flag.
He became fascinated by Kun Khmer after seeing it engraved on the sacred walls of Angkor Wat, and has often voiced the claim that the style originated in Cambodia.
Although he had trained in Muay Thai since he was 16 years old, he has turned his back on the Thai form of kickboxing, and agreed to fight under the Cambodian flag.
“First of all, I want to thank Jesus Christ, and secondly, I want to thank all my fans, Srey Chanthorn, my mother and the 16 million Cambodians who joined me in this match. The WMO of Kun Khmer originated in Cambodia,” he said in his post-match interview.
Thiago also posted a short video clip after the match, saying in Khmer: “Kun Khmer! Kun Khmer! Kun Khmer! originates in Cambodia.”
The clip demonstrated that he has put his heart and soul into Kun Khmer. He has also changed his club from Thailand to Cambodia.
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith was also impressed by the victory and took to social media to announce that the Brazilian fighter had claimed the belt on behalf of Kun Khmer in Germany, knocking out his opponent in the second round.
Srey Chanthorn, honorary vice president of the Khmer Boxing Federation, who took Teixeira to Angkor Wat to introduce him to the history of Kun Khmer – and sponsored his trip to Germany – expressed his pride at the win, saying the Brazilian had raised the profile of Kun Khmer on the international stage.
“His right elbow forced the referee to stop the fight. I was happy beyond belief when I saw the Cambodian flag in the ring,” he wrote.
“I always knew that one day, Cambodian and foreign boxers alike who compete on behalf of Kun Khmer will be able to raise the Cambodian flag on the international stage, and tonight my dream came true,” he added.
“This is just the beginning. In the future, we will see Kun Khmer matches in every nation of the world,” he concluded.