Photo by: Robert Starkweather
Bheut Kam will fight at the heaviest weight of his career this Sunday.
BHEUT Kam, the Battambang kickboxing prodigy, will face Scotsman Stephen Meikle in the co-feature of TV3’s inaugural fight card Sunday at the indoor arena at Olympic Stadium.
With his effortless fighting style and ferocious power, Bheut Kam is among the most dominant fighters of his generation. As a teenager, he terrorized the lower ranks, and for years he dominated the 60kg division. Now 22 years old, Bheut Kam enters the ring Sunday at 69kg, the heaviest of his career.
“I have watched a few of his fights on YouTube,” said Meikle, responding to questions by email. “He likes to punch a lot and clinch. I watched him fight Abbas Ahmadi, and he looked very strong.”
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and raised in Glasgow, Meikle, 26, stumbled into kickboxing as a university student when he enrolled for a Muay Thai class with the idea to get in shape. His fiercely competitive nature quickly took over, and he began training to fight after a single lesson.
After a year on the Scottish circuit, a little training in Bangkok seemed like the next logical step.
“I came to Thailand for a few weeks of training one summer, and started fighting,” Meikle said. “I never looked back.”
That was in 2005. Since then, Meikle has notched up more than two dozen victories and captured the attention of the Muay Thai establishment.
He received full sponsorship from Fairtex Thailand in 2008, and in August of that year beat Phil Pullen at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok to win the British IKF welterweight title, becoming the first Scot to win in the world-famous arena. Two months later, he beat highly ranked fellow countryman Craig Jose on home turf.
A keen student of kickboxing, Meikle has encountered Kun Khmer in the past. “Vorn Viva fought Craig Jose last year a few months before I beat Craig,” he said. “So I watched their fight to pick up tips on how to fight Craig.”
More and more, he says, the Cambodian sport is finding recognition among the gyms in Thailand. “Foreigners have been fighting in Thailand against Thais for years,” he stated. “We are interested to see how Cambodian kickboxing compares. It seems very aggressive and centered more around the clinch, which suits my style of fighting.”
A natural light middleweight, Meikle will likely hold a size and weight advantage over Bheut Kam when the two meet Sunday. “I will have a good bit of height advantage,” Meikle said. “I will be looking to out-clinch and knee him.”
Bheut Kam typically walks around 67kg, and the advantages of last-minute bulking up remain minimal. The experience factor, however, leans heavily in favor of Bheut Kam, who will enter the ring Sunday with a record of 171-5-1. Meikle’s official record stands at 24-5. But in five years of fighting, his unofficial tally likely exceeds that.
In number of years fighting, however, the pair are closely matched with Bheut Kam beginning in 2003, Meikle in August 2004.
“I should be able to use my height and range for this fight,” Meikle said. “I plan to see what he likes to throw and work off his mistakes, then tire him out and, hopefully, take the win.”