Even far past his prime and far, far heavier than his svelte fighting weight of 63.5 kilograms, Ei Phouthang can still pack out a house.
The CTN boxing arena counted record attendance Friday when the country’s most famous living fighter took on its current number one: ISKA world middleweight champion Vorn Viva.
There was nothing on the line. The Kun Khmer bout was just a warm-up session for Vorn Viva, who fights in the main event of an upcoming Cambodia v Laos card. The pair went five friendly rounds and finished with the announced decision of “no winner, no loser.”
“That was about 50 percent,” said Kampong Cham’s Vorn Viva. “He wouldn’t dare kick me with everything he had; that would be dangerous.”
After a couple of playful opening rounds, the pair let loose with some hard shots in the third. Ei Phouthang landed his thunderous right roundhouse, the crack filling the arena.
“Those were hard,” Vorn Viva said, “but not everything.”
Vorn Viva appeared to enjoy the work immensely, smiling and laughing through all five rounds. His opponent less so.
Once Cambodia’s greatest fighter, Koh Kong native Ei Phouthang considers himself more a trainer these days, although he still fights for the national boxing team and has been through a few six-rounders recently.
The crowd chuckled when ring announcer Khun Chivoan explained that, since Ei Phouthang was 10 kilograms and two weight divisions the heavier, the match was “not a real fight”.
Vorn Viva weighed in at 78 kilograms. He is scheduled to face Muay Laos champion Sathith, reportedly an SEA Games gold medal winner last year, at 74 kilograms in a non-title fight on November 9 at the CTN boxing arena.
Vorn Viva outpointed Germany’s Alban Ahmeti in August 2008 to win the ISKA title, and has yet to defend it.