Khon Reach ended Pich Arun’s winning streak, upsetting the odds makers and beating the hard-kicking Battambang southpaw, to claim the 65kg belt
Khon Reach (left) kept Puch Arun at a distance in the fifth round of their CTN welterweight championship final Sunday to clinch a decision victory.
Khon Reach receives his welterweight belt after beating Pich Arun in the final at CTN boxing arena Sunday.
Photos by: Robert Starkweather
KHON Reach and Pich Arun had more than 200 fights between them when they climbed into the ring Sunday at the CTN boxing arena to square off for the vacant welterweight title.
However, Pich Arun had claimed nearly all of them. With 170 fights, or so, the veteran from Bavel district, Battambang, entered Sunday’s title bout with more than a decade of professional ring time behind him.
But under the sweltering afternoon heat, experience gave way to youth. And Khon Reach, the quiet 20-year-old from a neighbouring Battambang district, staked an early lead on big knees and cracking elbows, then cruised through the final two rounds to upset the odds makers and win the 65-kilogram title.
The title bout concluded an 8-man tournament that began in March with Cheam Adam, Heng Samrang, Chea Samneang, Ai Kosal, Ty Bunhan, Him Saran, Khon Reach and Pich Arun.
Pich Arun was undefeated in four tournament bouts heading in for Sunday’s title bid. Khon Reach had lost only once, to Pich Arun.
Typically a slow starter, Pich Arun let the first two rounds slip away to a busier Khon Reach, who landed a skull-jarring uppercut in the first round and several elbows in the second to take the early lead.
In complete control in the third, Khon Reach protected his lead with flush, step-up knees and elbows to the face.
Pich Arun began moving with a sense of urgency in the fourth, stalking Khon Reach around with ring with hard roundhouse kicks and punches, likely winning the round.
But by then, only a knockout could alter the outcome, and Khon Reach knew it. He kept Pich Arun away with front kicks in the fifth, occasional landing a well-placed elbow or kick.
Khon Reach dropped to his knees and prostrated to the judges table when ring announcer Lao Vuthy announced the decision, then jumped to his feet and snapped a smart salute.
Ty Bunhan KOs Him Saran in fourth
In the co-feature, Ty Bunhan stopped Him Saran in the fourth to clinch third place in the tournament.
Ty Bunhan, 25, badly hurt Him Saran, 24, with two elbows in the opening seconds of round four, then chased him into the neutral corner with a series of devastating punches to the face.
Referee Sok Vichay intervened with what appeared would be a standing 8-count, but instead restarted the two fighters at centre ring.
Ty Bunhan blasted a dazed Him Saran with an overhand right, sending him drunkenly into the ropes, then kicked him in the head as he slid to the canvas.
For his losing effort, Him Saran, from Prey Veng, received 600,000 riels (US$143) and a new 14-inch color television. Ty Bunhan won one million riels, and also a 14-inch color television.
Khon Reach, the first place finisher, collected the keys to a new motorbike and 4.5 million riels. Pich Arun, who took second place, went home with a 21-inch JVC television and one million riels.