Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Stage set for 'Fight of the Year'




Stage set for 'Fight of the Year'

Stage set for 'Fight of the Year'


In one of the most heavily anticipated bouts of the year, Kao Roomchang will meet Van Chanvey in the lightweight tournament final Sunday at CTN arena

THE eight-man lightweight tournament comes to a close Sunday at CTN with what many observers expect to be a contender for ‘Fight of the Year’.

Kao Roomchang, who remains undefeated in eight tournament fights, faces knockout specialist Van Chanvey, who enters the ring with a single tournament loss and a field-leading five KOs.

The round-robin tournament began in late July with a field of eight. The victor Sunday will win 1.5 million riels (US$362), a 2009 Suzuki Viva, and the most coveted prize of all, a title shot against current lightweight champion Lao Sinath.

Kao Roomchang, 21, outpointed Vung Noy in the semifinals to advance. Van Chanvey, 23, outpointed Long Sophy in his semifinal.

Arguably the most destructive fighter in the 60-kilogram division, Van Chanvey’s only tournament loss came at the fists of the fighter he will face on Sunday. That first bout produced arguably the most vicious round of kickboxing in 2009, and the prospect of a rematch weighs uneasily on both fighters.

“I’d prefer to fight Long Sophy,” Kao Roomchang said after beating Vung Noi in the semifinals. “That would be an easier fight [than Van Chanvey].”
Of Van Chanvey’s six victories, only Long Sophy, who was the top-ranked contender heading into the tournament, lasted more than a few rounds. Everyone else was shattered by the third.

Bheut Bunthoen’s corner threw in the towel after Van Chanvey nearly cut his face in half with an elbow.

He stopped Vung Noi in the second with a knee, and Song Saruth in the same round with low kicks.

His roundhouse sent Nuon Mony to the hospital for X-rays, so bad was the damage to his left arm from blocking kicks.

Naem Chenda, the clever but insufficiently battle-hardened Kampong Cham entry, lasted about a minute before a glancing elbow turned his lights out.

Kao Roomchang is perhaps the only one better. He scored three knockouts during the tournament, including a rare third-round stoppage of Long Sophy. And his rise to the top of the rankings has been marked with a large degree of inevitability.

“That’s going to be a great fight to watch,” says Troueng Sossay, Van Chanvey’s trainer at Club Preah Khan Reach, who refrains from making any predictions.

Both fighters are widely feared for devastating elbows and a relentless, hard-charging style.

In their first and only clash, the two fighters showed immense respect for one another.

The first significant exchange did not occur until the final seconds of round two, when Van Chanvey tore open a long gash above Kao Roomchang’s left eye with an elbow.

The pair stood toe-to-toe in round three and traded only power shots, including easily 50 elbows between them, for three solid minutes. Both fighters buckled at times, both bled, but neither went down.

It was an enthralling display of savagery that reverberated through the local fight scene long after the bloodletting had stopped.

Much more will be on the line Sunday.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he