Cambodian kickboxing superstar Ei Phouthang smashed Spanish veteran Pitu Sans with kicks to score a first-round knockout in their rematch Saturday at TV3
Cambodian kickboxing legend Ei Phouthang made a triumphant return to the ring Saturday, stopping Spaniard Pitu Sans in the first round in the main event of TV3’s inaugural weekend fight card.
With just five kicks, Ei Phouthang badly damaged the veteran Spanish fighter, bruising his left shin and landing damaging blows to an arm.
The fourth of a series of right roundhouse kicks in the first round forced Sans to turn away in pain, clutching his left arm, and referee Troeung Sossay stepped in to give the standing eight count.
Sans said that he wanted to continue, but his corner had seen enough and threw in the towel.
“There was no way I could win,” Sans said afterward, a bag of ice tied to his left elbow. “There was no reason to keep fighting.”
It was not an entirely unexpected result.
Sans, 36, has faced Ei Phouthang before. The two met five years ago at the old Borei Keila stadium. That fight lasted twice as long as Saturday’s bout, but the result was even more devastating.
With two kicks in the second round, Ei Phouthang knocked Sans unconscious and broke his left arm.
For the veteran local fighter, such destruction is unremarkable. Not so for the Spaniard and his team, who remember well the weeks of recovery after that first bout, and who smartly chose to err on the side of caution Saturday.
“It’s not broken,” Sans said of the arm, “but two more kicks and it would be. I know from experience.”
Age takes it’s toll on bout counts
Though far past his prime at the age of 37, Ei Phouthang is still considered the undisputed king of Cambodian kickboxing. As he has gotten older, his local ring appearances have become increasingly rare, and he has not fought at home since June 2008, when he lost to American Benjamin Cahe by decision.
In several fights last year in Australia, he found mixed success, before representing Cambodia in English boxing in December at the Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, where he clinched a bronze medal.
These days, Ei Phouthang mostly works as a trainer, serving as an assistant coach under Chhit Sarim at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces club.
In the two other international fights on the card Saturday, Poipet’s Yak Yakill stopped Estonia’s Marco Stolts in the third round, and Anlong Veng’s Khon Reach earned a decision over France’s Sebastien Bellart.
The card marked the return to boxing of TV3 after nearly a four-year layoff. The station now brings the total number of channels broadcasting live boxing every weekend to four, who between them host more than 40 professional fights every week in Phnom Penh.
TV5 holds fights on Friday and Sunday. CTN and Bayon TV hold fights every Saturday and Sunday. For now, TV3 will stick to Saturdays only, but plan to hold international fights every other weekend, station managers said.