Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Locals go 2-1 in Om Tuk card

Locals go 2-1 in Om Tuk card

Locals go 2-1 in Om Tuk card

Cambodian kickboxing legend Nuon Soriya comes up short against Japan’s Yukiya Nakamura; Bheut Kam, Thun Sophea both score decisive victories


THE cut on Harlee Avison’s nose was still fresh when he entered the ring Friday night against Bheut Kam. The stitches had come out just days earlier.

The gash gave Bheut Kam a target, and within seconds of the opening bell he whipped Avison’s head back with a straight left hand flush to the nose.

Nearly 1,500 enthusiastic Kun Khmer fans packed Old Stadium on Friday night for TV5’s annual Bon Om Tuk fight card, which this year included three international and five local bouts.

In the international features, Thun Sophea smashed Muhammed Nsugbuga of Uganda with low kicks to score an effortless first-round TKO, Nuon Soriya lost by majority decision to Yukiya Nakamura of Japan and Bheut Kam beat Harlee Avison by unanimous decision.

“Shit fight,” said Avison afterwards, the sting of defeat unmistakable on his face.

The 18-year-old from Cairns, Australia, trains out of Promthep Camp in Phuket, Thailand.

He typically fights with his father Wayne and his uncle Danny working the corner.

But Harlee flew to Cambodia with only Thai fight promoters, and the men in his corner Friday night were practically strangers.
Without his family for support, the young Avison said he struggled.

“You’re a bit more motivated, a bit more enthusiastic with friends and family in the corner,” he said.

“Here you feel like you’re fighting alone. You just want to get it over with.”

Encouraged by Avison’s lackluster performance, Bheut Kam, 22, put on a kickboxing clinic, scoring easily with hard punches to the body and vicious elbows.

By round five, he was landing five- and six-punch combinations unanswered and egging Avison on.

The Australian occasionally showed hints of power, and he shook Bheut Kam a few times with strong kicks.

He never appeared in any trouble, even after taking some incredibly hard elbows.

But he just never worked enough to be competitive in the fight.

“I could have kicked more, could have kneed more,” he conceded.

In the second co-feature of the night, 21-year-old Yukiya Nakamura of Tokyo came on strong in rounds four and five to steal the decision from Nuon Soriya, who had dominated rounds one, two and three.

“I did not think I could lose,” said Nuon Soriya, the 29-year-old veteran, afterward.

“I won rounds one, two, three and four.”

Of the five ringside judges, only one scored the fight in favor of Nuon Soriya, who while commanding the first three rounds, began to visibly tire in the fourth and appeared absolutely exhausted in the fifth.

In the third co-feature, Thun Sopea dismissed a badly overmatched Muhammad Nsubuga with low kicks, scoring three knockdowns in less than 90 seconds of the first round.

“I could feel the pain,” said Nsubuga afterward, poking gingerly at his left hamstring. “I thought it was going to break.”

Nsubuga, predominantly an English boxer, took the fight on short notice.

He was filling in for a Russian fighter listed only as “Mitery”, who did not appear for unspecified reasons.

Thun Sophea himself was filling in for Sen Bunthen, who was out of the country.

In the five local matches, Mtes Kmang drew against Rith Kao, Khan Sovan beat Lim Bunna on points, Chim Sarath dropped a decision to Cheng Rithy, Sarim Vonthon outpointed Bheut Bunthoeun and Les Tuk earned a decision over Him Saram.

Prime Minister Hun Sen gave US$1,000 to each fighter in the international bouts and $500 to the 10 local fighters on the undercard.


  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting