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Marcus outguns Ei Phouthang

Canadian Simon Marcus deals a rare loss to Cambodia’s undisputed king of kickboxing, Ei Phouthang, in their international bout at TV3 arena on Saturday

NO one ever expects legends to lose, but on Saturday, Canadian Simon Marcus pummelled Ei Phouthang with hard punches and big knees to score a lopsided decision victory Saturday at the TV3 boxing arena.

The decision marked just the thirteenth loss of Ei Phouthang’s 20-year career, dropping him to 163-13-5.

“He was good, and big,” Ei Phouthang said of Marcus. “He smothered me in the clinch. I could not do anything.”

At 37 years old, Ei Phouthang is far past his prime. Time has softened his once-ripped physique, and the former light-middleweight champion weighed in for Saturday’s bout at a smooth 82 kilograms.

Still, if the Koh Kong native’s speed and skill have faded somewhat over the years, his power has stayed. In his last outing February 6, Ei Phouthang stopped Spanish veteran Pitu Sans in the first round with just four kicks.

Against Marcus, however, Ei Phouthang was clearly the smaller man.

Marcus weighed in at a ripped 80 kilograms, having fought three weeks ago 16 kilograms heavier.

“I overcut,” he said. “I thought the scale in my hotel was broken. I was suppose to be 82. But it’s nice to know I can go that low without any problems. I’m not tired or anything.”

A native of Toronto, the 23-year-old kick-boxing instructor arrived on his third visit to Thailand about three months ago, and he has been training in Chachoengsao at the world renowned Por Pramuk Gym, home to two-time K-1 Max champion Buakaw Por Pramuk.

Hints of the upset came early Saturday. In the second round, Ei Phouthang unloaded with the full fury of his bone-breaking right roundhouse, catching Marcus flush on the left bicep.

Marcus stopped flat, dropped his gloves to his sides and stared hard into Ei Phouthang’s eyes, freezing the arena in a moment of uncertainty.
Was he hurt? Was the arm broken?

Then Marcus shrugged his shoulders, as if to say “so what”, sending a wave of nervous laughter through the sweltering TV3 arena stands.
Was he bluffing?

Ei Phouthang kicked again. Marcus caught it and twisted Ei Phouthang off his feet, then tried to kick him in the head as he fell to the canvass.
When the bell rang, Marcus stepped slowly back to his corner, looked out into the crowd and, in another gesture of confidence, turned his left hand back and forth near his face.

It was no bluster.
Marcus appeared to rattle Ei Phouthang early in the third round with a straight right hand, and the punishment may have been worse, but Marcus’ groin protection came loose and much of the round burned away with Marcus behind a towel ringside and Ei Phouthang waiting in the neutral corner.

Marcus caught up with Ei Phouthang in the fourth, trapping him twice in the corners and once against the ropes, connecting with a series of punches that bloodied the Cambodian’s nose.

“He was tough,” Marcus said. “My technique was a little off. Some of those shots were not perfect.”

In the co-feature, Eam Vutha squeaked past Matt Embree with a narrow victory decision.

Embree, a teammate of Marcus’s from Toronto who is also training at the Por Pramuk Gym, pushed the action in all five rounds, catching Eam Vutha with hard shots throughout.

But Eam Vutha landed the more damaging blows, bloodying Embree’s nose with an elbow in the first round and cutting him on the head with another in the fifth.

“Every loss is tough,” said Embree, clearly disappointed with the decision, as blood from his head dripped onto the floor.

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