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Nuon Soriya storms Europe

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Cambodian Nuon Soriya (left) registered a decision victory over Moroccan Yassim Lamidi in Frameries, Belgium, on Saturday in his European boxing debut.

Cambodian kickboxing veteran Nuon Soriya makes a triumphant debut to the European scene, hammering Morrocan Yassim Lamidi in Frameries, Belgium

Frameries, Belgium
NUON Soriya prepared for his fight Saturday against Morrocan Yassim Lamidi in Frameries, near Mons, Belgium, with a zen-like calm. Arriving from Cambodia two days previously, he was excited by the prospect of his first fight in a European ring despite suffering from jet lag and facing the cold temperatures of the Belgian winter.

The match, which was organized by Thai promoter and trainer Suruswadee Thong, was part of a long night of 17 amateur and professional fights. Nuon Soriya was welcomed by a crowd of young local Cambodians, who had been looking forward to seeing a boxer from their homeland fight in their Belgian hometown.

Nuon Soriya’s opponent Yassim Lamidi, from the renowned Muay Thai Chakuri Gym in Holland, weighed in at 70kg, 3 kilos more than the Cambodian. However, with this slight weight disadvantage and a shorter height, Soriya proved to be the stronger fighter.

Shortly before the fight, Yassim Lamidi requested to change the rules from Muay Thai to K1, thus disallowing elbows. The request was granted, although it added an additional challenge for Soriya.

Nuon Soriya shows class
The fight lasted five rounds of three minutes each, and Nuon Soriya demonstrated his superb technical skill throughout, as well as his ability to bounce back after taking a string of punches. Both boxers fought with strong English-style hands, but Soriya landed more repeated kicks, which eventually wore his adversary down.

The 29-year-old kickboxing veteran seemed to improve in form as the rounds went on, with an explosive fifth round sealing victory. When the points decision was announced, Nuon Soriya made frog jumps into the air, accompanied by his Cambodian fans’ cheers.

“I am so happy,” he said with a wide grin after the fight. “It was my first fight in Europe, and I’ve won it.”

Sebire helps promote sport
Philippe Sebire, the French trainer who had brought over Nuon Soriya to replace injured Sen Bunthen for this fight, was delighted at the result. Sebire’s motivation for bringing Cambodian boxers to Europe stems from a desire both to help them gain international recognition, and to give them the opportunity to earn greater prize money than the purses available in Cambodia. The Frenchman is also campaigning to promote the Cambodian kickboxing form of Kun Khmer in Europe.

As Sebire explains: “It is a great achievement for me to be able to work together with a Thai promoter to bring Khmer fighters to an international stage. It helps the fighter, it helps Kun Khmer, and it increases knowledge about Kun Khmer in the Muay Thai-dominated European kickboxing scene.” Sebire had even more reason to celebrate on the night, as his 16-year-old son, Benjamin Sebire – alias Preap Sarin – also won with a TKO in the second round.

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