VAN Chanvey scored three knockdowns within two minutes to earn a devastating first-round TKO over Naem Chenda Sunday at the CTN boxing arena.
The match came as part of an eight-man round-robin tournament to determine a challenger for the lightweight title. Although Van Chanvey remains unlikely to win the tournament, his mauling of Naem Chenda Sunday cements his status as the most destructive fighter in the pack.
With seven weeks gone of the 14-week schedule, Van Chanvey counts as many knockouts as all other fighters combined. In four bouts, the 23-year-old Battambang native is 3-1 with three knockouts, while no other fighter in the contest has registered more than a single TKO.
Not only effective, Van Chanvey has also proven brutally efficient. In three victories, no opponent has lasted more than two-and-a-half rounds with him. Bheut Bunthoeun threw in the towel early in the third; Vung Noy went early in the second; Naem Chenda never made it past the first.
Warming up behind the bleachers ahead of Sunday's bout, with grey storm clouds settling in overhead, Naem Chenda knew he faced near-impossible odds.
"I've got no hope of beating him," he said. "He's very strong, and he's got very good knees."
A native of Kampong Cham, 20-year-old Naem Chenda entered the ring Sunday with a 2-1 tournament record. The loss went to top-ranked contender Long Sophy, who scored an early knockdown en route to a fourth-round TKO.
"Long Sophy got me in the second round with knees," Naem Chenda said, referring to the first knockdown of the fight. "I am not sure how I will hold up against Van Chanvey."
Not very well, it turned out.
Naem Chenda downed early
Van Chanvey scored the first eight-count with just over a minute gone, barely two kicks into the fight. With Naem Chenda against the ropes, Van Chanvey landed a hard left to the body followed by a right hook to the chin.
It didn't appear a particularly devastating combination, and a cheerless crowd watched as Naem Chenda blinked hard and turned away, catching everyone, including Van Chanvey and referee Meas Sokry, by surprise.
Naem Chenda walked in circles and shot a desperate glance to his corner as Meas Sokry counted to eight.
Thirty seconds later, with Naem Chenda back against the ropes, Van Chanvey faked with a right knee then stepped in with a left knee to the body to score the second knockdown. Naem Chenda doubled over, his eyes bulging with pain as he clutched at his ribs, and tumbled down the ropes into the neutral corner.
The crowd roared to life. Naem Chenda struggled back to his feet. But he didn't stay there for long.
Seconds later, another knee put him back on the canvas, triggering the three-knockdown rule and forcing Meas Sokry to wave the fight over.
In two minutes of work, Van Chanvey never broke a sweat.
Long Sophy wins by decision
In the second of two lightweight tournament fights Sunday, Long Sophy outpointed Bheut Bunthoeun to take the tournament lead with four wins and no losses.
Abandoning his typically patient style, Long Sophy came out strong in the first two rounds, searching for an early stoppage. But Bheut Bunthouen, who has been knocked out in all three of his previous tournament fights, withstood the onslaught.
Kao Roomchang, the only other undefeated fighter in the tournament, has fought only three times. He is scheduled to face Nuon Mony, 0-4, on September 6. A knockout would move Kao Roomchang into the lead with four wins and two knockouts.
Long Sophy and Kao Roomchang meet on the final Sunday of the round-robin competition on October 18.