op US boxing coach Al Wile is a man on a mission - to put some punch back into
Khmer amateur boxing.
The country threw in the towel on the sport during
the troubles of the last 30 years and Wile answered a call by the Ministry of
Education, Youth and Sport to get the noble art off the ropes.
supervises the training of coaches for the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, is
spending two weeks here putting 35 eager boxers through their paces at the
But it has been no walk over for him as many of the
budding pugilists have had trouble converting from the kick-boxing style they
are used to and some of the techniques on display would have the Marquess of
Queensbury turning in his grave.
Wile is also training 20 coaches and he
hopes they will promote the sport throughout the country. He said: "I want to
develop boxing in this country. Even though there are only 20 people it's a
His stay coincided with a tournament organized by the military at
the Olympic Stadium that included some international-style bouts which Wile
refereed. Some of Wile's students took part and did "extremely well."
wasn't all completely serious however. One observer at the tournament quipped
during a power blackout: "As a boxing coach Wile may have been used to the
phrase 'putting somebody's lights out' but it means something completely
During the first bout Wile kept his refereeing low-key
because he "didn't want his butt kicked by the 6,000-strong audience."
He said he would like to come back again next year.