California State Treasurer Fiona Ma has given her assurances that she will work to promote Kun Khmer and Cambodian martial arts in the US, said Srey Chanthorn, head of the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF).

The news of her backing came as Chanthorn met with Ma at the first Cambodia Business Expo and Trade Event, held in Long Beach, California on November 9 and 10.

Chanthorn accompanied boxer Chheang Lvey and KKIF assistant coach Srey Reachbot to the expo, where they performed a demonstration of the Kingdom’s unique martial art. Following the meeting, Chanthorn took to social media to share Ma’s support.

“Today, I was very honoured by California’s state treasurer Fiona Ma. She presented me with a thank you letter and shared her admiration for my promotion of Kun Khmer in the US,” he said.

“She thanked me for seeking to connect our peoples and cultures thorough Kun Khmer, and assured me that she will do her best to promote our martial art in America,” he added.

Ma’s support may pave the way for the first Kun Khmer tournament on US soil. During his trip, Chanthorn intended to inspect possible locations for an event, to be held in the near future.

The KKIF is also examining the possibility of forming an alliance with the Khmer Kickboxing Gym of Oum Ry, a former champion fighter who was forced to flee to the US from the Khmer Rouge. Chanthorn expected that this alliance would build Kun Khmer’s profile in the US.

Tem Moeun, president of the Cambodian Boxing Federation (CBF), expressed his support and admiration for Chanthorn’s work to boost the sport overseas.

On November 12, he noted that Kun Khmer competitions had been already held in France and Australia, with multiple Cambodian fighters entering the events.

“The support of Cambodians or foreigners is very important. We embrace any assistance that aligns with the principles of the cultural treasure that is Kun Khmer. We welcome all,” he said.

“The CBF wants to see more international events take place. As head of the CBF, I thank Chanthorn for boosting the image of our sport in the US, and for gathering support. At the same time, I offer my gratitude to Fiona Ma for supporting Kun Khmer. This will give us more strength to share Kun Khmer with the world,” he added.

Moeun called for the all relevant sides to work together to grow the popularity of the sport, noting that their support must align with the policy of government the and cultural values of Kun Khmer, as well as the principles of certain institutions – the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

“We need to protect, conserve and develop Kun Khmer, in order to honour the ancestral martial art that has been left to us. We have to unite and gather our strength to preserve the sport, while upholding our values,” he said.