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Sen Bunthen beats past legend

Sen Bunthen beats past legend

090512_24.jpg
090512_24.jpg

Sen Bunthen continues to notch up victories over biggest names in boxing with convincing decision victory Sunday over Siem Reap legend Chey Kosal

Photo by:

ROBERT STARKWEATHER

Sen Bunthen (right, red shorts) batters a fading Chey Kosal early in the fourth round of their match Sunday at TV5 boxing arena.

SEN Bunthen beat another Cambodian boxing legend Sunday, outpointing Siem Reap veteran Chey Kosal to earn a clear-cut decision victory before an overflowing house at the TV5 boxing arena in Takhmao.

Sen Bunthen was originally scheduled to fight Outh Phouthong in a heavily anticipated rematch, but Outh Phouthong left for Australia earlier in the week to prepare for a bout there later this month, according to people from his camp.

For years, Chey Kosal stood as one of the most feared fighters in the country. However, the 25-year-old veteran has fought only sporadically of late, largely due to his fearsome reputation. He entered the ring Sunday with just five days' notice and virtually no preparation.

Fresh off the back of a moto

"I don't really fight any more, so I don't train every day like I used to," he said before the match. "I work as a motodop."

"I only trained two days for this fight," Chey Kosal added.

The long layoff and lack of training did not appear to affect his skills or his confidence. Within seconds of the opening bell, with both fighters still standing at centre ring, Chey Kosal leaned in and connected with a surprise right elbow.

Sen Bunthen, the 27-year-old from Kampong Cham, took a step back and smiled, then snapped forward and connected with a right elbow of his own. Chey Kosal nodded in approval, and the crowd thundered behind him.

Hunched up against the ropes early in the second round, Chey Kosal unloaded a flurry of elbows that ended with a viscous left to the chin and nearly unscrewed Sen Bunthen's head from his shoulders. One from the right two minutes later tore open a gash over Sen Bunthen's left eye.

It's exactly this kind of explosive brutality that keeps Chey Kosal out of work, but the shots appeared to give Sen Bunthen little trouble. Even when referee Chaum Chaury stepped in to inspect the cut and clean away the blood, Sen Bunthen just chuckled.

The cut never became a factor, and as Sen Bunthen picked up the pace in the third round, the hard-charging Chey Kosal began to fade. By the fourth he looked nearly ready to crumble, and Sen Bunthen landed several hard, unanswered shots to cement the victory.

"I was finished after three rounds," Chey Kosal said after the fight. "I could barely hold my hands up after that."

When the final bell rang, Sen Bunthen dropped to the canvas and gave the crowd a dozen push-ups. Rather effortlessly, he had knocked off another of the sport's all-time greats.

Given Chey Kosal's lack of training, however, some at ringside wondered if Sen Bunthen was really the better fighter. And while no rematch has yet been announced, a second fight seems likely.

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