The inaugural International Cage Fight Night captivated and infuriated a packed crowd at the arena of CTN TV station in equal measure on Tuesday, with Tak Sophorn the only Cambodian to emerge victorious from a card of six mixed martial arts bouts featuring local fighters against foreigners.
As well as assembling the impressive line-up, CTN also flew in an international standard referee.
The night’s first match-up saw a bloody encounter at 60kg between Khleang Moeung Club brawler Sok Chenda and South African fighter Nkajlmulo “Zulu Boy” Zulu.
With Chenda aiming for an early takedown, Zulu launched a series of counterpunches and elbows to the head of his rival, opening up cuts. The visitor then expertly clinched the tie when mounted by producing a triangle choke with his legs around Chenda’s neck. The Cambodian tapped out at 2:40 through the second round.
Next up was Sam Andun of Im Ouk’s A Fighters team, who was rapidly taken down and struck by a vicious series of huge elbows to the jaw from South African opponent Matt Buirski, resulting in a knockout at 2:36 of the first round.
The third bout, which pitted Ty Tonghy of Saravorn Keila Club against Englishman Jamie Lee, also ended in a first-round knockout for the foreign fighter. When Tonghy fell on his side, Lee made no hesitation in firing hooks to the face until the local was well and truly out for the count, with referee Ei Phouthang unable to stop the fight in time.
It wasn’t until the fourth match that the home crowd were given something to cheer about with A Fighter Tak Sophorn edging England’s Dave Newbrook on points. Both men traded punches and kicks throuhgout the three rounds, although Sophorn was penalised for attempting a head-butt while mounted.
Experienced Cambodian boxer Pich Arun of Sam Reak Reach Asy Club lasted less than a minute-and-a-half with South African karate expert James Smart, who hammered the local man’s face with powerful punches until the referee had seen enough.
The final fight featuring a Cambodian followed a similar theme, with Angkor Youth fighter Paddy Meunsophea grounded and pounded into submission to force a stoppage in the middle of round 1.
The string of one-sided defeats had one Cambodian spectator remark: “The foreign fighters are both heavier and more experienced. So in this event it was like we sent kids to fight with men.”
Translated by Cheng Seryrith