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Long Sophy wins first pro title

Long Sophy wins first pro title

Club Salavorn mainstay Long Sophy bests the light-middleweight field including a win over Pom Saray in the final Sunday to claim the K-Cement championship

LONG Sophy outpointed Pom Saray to win the K-Cement light-middleweight title Sunday at the TV5 boxing arena in Takhmao.

Just 22 years old, Long Sophy began fighting at age 17. Along the way he has won several tournaments, two national championships and a motorcycle, but the K-Cement belt marks his first professional title.

In addition to the belt and the prestige, Long Sophy also cashed a purse of 6.4 million riels (US$1,540).

“I’m going to buy a hand tractor,” he said, noting that it will help his family with farming in Battambang. “I have a moto already.”

Pom Saray, who gave up a significant height and reach advantage Sunday, was clearly the stronger fighter. But while he landed the harder shots, Long Sophy never appeared hurt and Pom Saray appeared reluctant to wade inside, where Long Sophy is dangerous with knees.

Instead, 33-year-old Pom Saray worked his standard stick-and-move style, scoring with lead hooks and low kicks and then shuffling away.

Long Sophy followed him patiently around the ring, working the body with front kicks and trying to provoke a brawl inside.

In the first significant exchange of the fight in the third round, Pom Saray, from Oddar Meanchey, landed several flush punches to the head. Long Sophy answered with hard knees to the body, but no clear winner emerged.

Another brief exchange in the fourth yielded similar results. Otherwise, the cat and mouse continued, with Long Sophy chasing Pom Saray with punches and kicks and Pom Saray countering and sneaking away in a largely technical bout.

Both men raised their hands in victory when the final bell rang.

The tournament to crown the light-middleweight (63.5 kilograms) champion began in January with eight fighters. Luk Vibol, Sarim Vonthon, Nuon Phireak and Les Tuk were eliminated in the group stages.

In the semifinals, Long Sophy defeated Kao Roomchang and Pom Saray bested Kao Roomchang.

In the co-feature Sunday, Kao Roomchang outpointed Kao Bunheng to win third place and a 1.5 million riels cash prize. For his second place, Pom Saray collected 3 million riels, while Kao Bunheng took home 600,000 riels for fourth.

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