Cambodian boxer Khun Bora, better known as Kim Bora, is training hard in a bid to take the rare prize of a brand new villa in an upcoming bout with Chhut Serey Vanthong. In the back of his mind, however, is a shot at winning glory for the Cambodia at next year’s 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which Cambodia will host.

Hailing from Banteay Meanchey province, Bora is considered one of Cambodia’s strongest A-level boxers, making it difficult for him to find suitable opponents in the Kingdom. He is well known for his willingness to engage with lesser fighters, never showing off, but putting on a good show for his fans.

In his more than 16 years as a boxer, Bora has never lost the will to win. He currently holds three 60kg titles, which he won at the CNC arena in the last three years. To earn these titles, he has defeated the top boxers in Cambodia. Meun Mekhea, Chhut Serey Vanthong and SEA Games silver medalist Tan Makara have all tasted defeat at his hands.

At present, he is focused on conditioning himself in preparation for the November 24 “Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh” title match at TV5 Cambodia arena. The winner will earn a villa, one of the biggest prizes ever offered in Khmer boxing. He will meet Vanthong, who he has bested before, but predicts a tough match.

“I think it will be a tougher match than our previous bouts. He is stronger than ever, in terms of technique, strength and his morale. The circumstances are very different, so I won’t make any predictions. Ultimately, it will be up to the judges on the night,” Bora told The Post.

In their past four meetings, Bora has lost to Vanthong once – in their first meeting. Bora has come out on top in two of their last three matches, held in 2020 and2021, with one bout declared a draw.

On their path to the title match, both men remain undefeated.

In the group stage, Vanthong knocked out Rin David and Sieu Ngoy and defeated Van Voeun on points to finish first in Group A. He breezed through his semi-final with a second round knockout of Soth Veasna on November 6.

Bora took points wins over Kong Hou, Soth Veasna and Puth Sambo to claim first place in Group B, before going on to knock out Van Voeun in round three of his semi-final.

“I am focused on overcoming my own weaknesses. Going into this fight, I didn’t feel like my conditioning was as good as my opponent, so I need to make sure I am in the right shape to go the distance. If my training overcomes this, I have a good shot, because I know I have the techniques I need to win,” said Bora.

He was focused on winning the spectacular prize in the final, saying: “This is a significant competition, because we have few chances to win such a valuable purse. It is important that I leave everything in the ring.”

Vanthong is also committed to capturing the villa, but the national kickboxer, who is currently training at the old stadium, praised Bora’s strength and speed, noting that he was wary of his opponents striking ability.

“I feel that I am a better fighter than I was in the past, but I know Bora is also improving. I will do my best to take the title, but win, lose or draw, it will be an honour to compete,” said the fighter from Battambang province.

In addition to preparing for the upcoming final, Bora has also been working to regain the opportunity to represent the Kingdom at next year’s games. In his first appearance in Vietnam last May, he claimed a bronze in the 60kg weight class. His older brother, Khun Dima, fighting in the 63kg category, claimed gold for Cambodia at the 2017 SEA Games in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

However, the Cambodia Boxing Federation has selected Bora as a reserve fighter on the current national squad.

“I was the second choice for next year’s games, but I know my abilities speak for themselves. If the management feels that I lack skill or don’t train hard enough, then it is their right to select someone else,” he said.

“I will keep working hard. This is my livelihood of course, but I would love to have the opportunity to bring glory to Cambodia – especially when the games are being held here. Of course, I don’t know if I will get the chance to compete for the nation or not. That depends entirely on the selection committee and the leadership of the federation. They will choose me, or they will choose someone else. That’s all I can say,” he added.