Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prize fight inaugurates casino

Prize fight inaugurates casino

Prize fight inaugurates casino

Vorn Viva will face Dominik Zidov Friday in the main event of opening night fights, including four international boxing bouts, at Titan King Casino in Bavet

Photo by: Robert Starkweather
Swiss-Croat fighter Dominik Zidov rose to fame on the kickboxing reality TV series The Contender Asia.

ISKA world middleweight champion Vorn Viva will face Muay Thai bad boy Dominik Zidov of Switzerland Friday in a non-title fight at the Titan King Casino in Bavet, Svay Rieng.

The fight card, the highlight of the casino’s opening-night gala, includes four international and two local bouts. In addition to the main event, England’s Jason Woodham and Danny Taylor will take on local legends Thun Sophea and Nuon Soriya respectively, and Poland’s Raphael Simonides will face Lao Sinath.

All four fight out of the WMC Lamai camp in Koh Samui, Thailand.

Zidov replaces England’s Charlie Gillespie, who was originally scheduled to face Vorn Viva for a second time. Tendonitis of the knee sidelined Gillespie last week, forcing him out of the fight.

“My knee is bad,” Gillespie said in a recent email. “I damaged it in training but kept going on it. Then I got kicked on it again, which put me in the hospital.”

Dominik Zidov, Gillespie’s replacement, rose to worldwide popularity as the likable rogue in The Contender Asia’s first season. He has fought in Cambodia before, in August, when he lost a decision to Thun Sophea on the same night that Vorn Viva first beat Gillespie.

Two weeks before the Thun Sophea fight, Zidov was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with dozens of stitches in the head and foot and prevented him from training.

“The last time when I fought Sophea, it was not a difficult fight for me. But I was not fit,” Zidov said during a recent email exchange. “Now I am fit. I can show what I am capable of. Even if I am smaller than Viva, I will not make it easy for him.”

Zidov typically fights around 68-70 kilograms. He faces Vorn Viva at 73 kilograms. “That’s weight up for sure,” he remarked.

Vorn Viva, a native of Kampong Cham, has fought only sporadically since beating Alban Ahmedi of Kosovo in August 2008 to win the ISKA world middleweight title. Few local fighters dare face him, and his rare ring appearances typically have come against overseas opponents. His last international fight was the decision win over Gillespie.

“He was good,” Vorn Viva said recently of Gillespie, who bloodied the champion’s nose in the fifth. “But I had not fought in a long time before that match. It was only an average performance for me.”

A long spell of inactivity again will be following Vorn Viva when he steps into the ring Friday. He has fought only once since beating Gillespie.

In a January tune-up bout, the 24-year-old went five rounds with Brigade 70 veteran Long Sophal. That outing looked more like a training session than a competitive kickboxing match, and Vorn Viva toyed with a wildly overmatched opponent.

The crowd loved it, but as preparation for the crucible of the boxing ring, it was no substitute for quality rounds.

Unlike the Cambodian champion, Zidov, who turns 30 in April, says he has been fighting about once a month to stay sharp, and heads into Friday’s bout high on confidence. “I’m living with Charlie [Gillespie] here in Samui, and he told me that [Viva] is strong but can be beaten,” he revealed.

“I think it will be a fight of the heart. Whoever has the stronger heart will win.”

Zidov expects victory, so he can move on to the unfinished business from his last trip. “What I want is a rematch with Thun Sophea,” he said.
In the two local bouts, Cheam Adam will take on Sam Ounluong for a second time, and Um Dara will square off with Voey Sothun.

Cheam Adam came back from a second-round knockdown to score a thrilling third-round knockout in the pair’s first meeting in August. Both fighters are products of CTN’s reality television series “Kun Khmer Champion”. Cheam Adam won first place in the show’s inaugural season. Sam Ounluong was the winner of season two.

CTN will broadcast the fights live from Bavet.


  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • 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

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • 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

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • 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.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be