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Bheut Kam begins title chase


23-year-old Bheut Kam (blue shorts) is the bookies favourite to top group A of the Bayon TV light-middleweight tournament, which started Saturday.

All Photos by: Robert Starkweather

With small sheets of Christian scripture wrapped across his knuckles, Bheut Kam dropped Chan Ratana with a right-left in the fourth round on his way towards earning a victory decision on Saturday in the opening bout of the light-middleweight tournament underway at the Bayon TV boxing arena.

Just one fight short of 200 career bouts, Bheut Kam joins seven others who are battling for a title shot against defending light-middleweight champion Outh Phouthang.

A heavy underdog heading into the fight, Chan Ratana is widely known for his Bokator background. He often wows crowds with flashy spinning elbows and back kicks. But against a smiling Bheut Kam, who swept him to the canvas several times in every round, it was all Chan Ratana could do to stay on his feet.

Chan Ratana had his moments. He landed a hard right elbow in the first round, and he wobbled Bheut Kam with an overhand right in the third. But otherwise, Bhuet Kam, one of 10 siblings from a large Christian family, showed little trouble outmaneuvering The Bokator Kid.

Bheut Kam, who started fighting in 2004 at the age of 17, has previously owned five different titles in three weight divisions – one at 48, one at 57, and three at 60 kilograms.

He is the favorite in Group A, which includes Chan Ratana, Tuot Reachesay and Kao Lek.

Group B comprises Chey Kosal, Yok Yakill, Ven Sovan and Soy Phireak.

Bhut Kam and Chey Kosal are both widely expected to win their respective divisions, making the group stage mostly a battle for second place. The top two finishers from each group will advance to semifinals.

In yesterday’s group B match, a bloody Yok Yakill survived a second-round cut over his right eye to score a third-round knockdown on his way toward earning the victory decision over Soy Phireak.

Over the next five weeks, Group A fights will headline the Saturday card at the Bayon TV boxing arena. Group B matches will headline on Sunday cards.

Tournament match-ups
Group A
Saturday September 11
Tout Reachesay v Kao Lek
Saturday September 25
Bheut Kam v Tuot Reachesay
Saturday October 2
Kao Lek v Chan Ratana
Sunday October 10
Bheut Kam v Kao Lek
Saturday October 23
Chan Ratana v Tout Reachesay

Group B
Sunday September 12
Chey Kosal v Ven Sovan
Sunday September 26
Soy Phireak v Chey Kosal
Sunday October 3
Ven Sovan v Yok Yakill
Sunday October 17
Soy Phireak v Ven Sovan
Sunday October 24
Yok Yakill v Chey Kosal

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