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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CTN reality series closes in on Kun Khmer Champion

CTN reality series closes in on Kun Khmer Champion


Battambang's Phan Sothy blasts past Kampot's Sok Ratha Sunday to take third place in CTN's televised boxing reality series with a second-round win

Photo by: ROBERT STYARKWEATHER
With relentless low kicks, Phan Sothy (right, blue gloves) stopped Sok Ratha in the second round of their third place playoff bout of CTN’s Kun Khmer Championship at CTN arena Sunday.

Photo by: ROBERT STYARKWEATHER
Sok Ratha (left) leans against the ropes in the second round as referee Chhit Sarim counts to eight.

THE penultimate match of CTN's Kun Khmer Champion reality series came to an early, brutal end Sunday when Phan Sothy stopped Sok Ratha in the second round with a series of vicious low kicks.

Midway through the second round, the taller Phan Sothy chased Sok Ratha into the neutral corner with jabs and low kicks, the packed house punctuating every blow with a roar. With Sok Ratha leaning against the turnbuckle and clinging to the top rope, Phan Sothy smashed away at his legs with half a dozen more low kicks.

Sok Ratha fell to the seat of his pants and stayed there.
The victory earns Battambang's Phan Sothy third place in the show, billed as "Cambodia's toughest reality series". Kampot's Sok Ratha takes fourth.

The second season of Kun Khmer Champion began in March. Produced by CTN, the series puts 12 rookie fighters together under one roof to live and train.

"Hopefully it can reach out to people who are only casual fans of kickboxing, or even those who don't find the sport particularly appealing, to show them another side of the sport," said Aaron Leverton, a consultant to the show.

Meas Sokry from the Ministry of Interior boxing club and Sok Vichay from Kleang Meurng boxing club trained the fighters. Vorn Viva, the ISKA world middleweight champion, served as assistant trainer.

Through tests of physical strength, contestants were selected for weekly fights. Winners stayed on the show; losers went home.
Phan Sothy's route to third

Phan Sothy, a 24-year-old from Thma Kuol district in Battambang, entered Sunday's third place playoff bout with a professional record of 5-2, of which two wins and one loss came in Kun Khmer Champion bouts. The victory Sunday improved his record to 6-2.

To reach the show's semifinals, Phan Sothy beat Chorn Vichen. In that fight, Phan Sothy scored an eight count early in the second round with a flying knee. A minute later, following a series of low kicks and then an elbow, Chhorn Vichen's corner threw in the towel with 1:10 left in the round.
In a brief but thrilling semifinal match, Prey Veng's Sam Ounlorng knocked out Phan Sothy in the second round with a straight right hand.

Sok Ratha, a 23-year-old from Kampot, entered the bout Sunday with a record identical to his opponent's, both inside and outside the TV series.
To earn his place in the semifinals, Sok Ratha came back from a first-round knockdown to stop Heam Samnang in the third.

In his semifinals match, Sok Ratha scored two second-round knockdowns against Siem Reap's Puy Neurn and was microseconds away from scoring a third and winning by referee stoppage when the bell rang. Puy Neurn came back in the third to score a TKO over Sok Ratha with an elbow.

Sam Ournlourng and Puy Neurn will step into the ring Sunday to fight for the championship. The winner will pocket US$1,750, a huge figure by local boxing standards. The loser will get $800.

"I can beat Puy Neurn, I am 80 percent sure," said Sam Ournlourng after knocking out Phan Sothy.

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