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Meas Chanta Among Champions to Debut Khmer Kickboxing in Europe

By: By Robert Starkweather Posted: February-07-2008 in
By Robert Starkweather

Khmer kickboxing will get a shot on the world stage next month when S-1 title holder Meas Chanta fights in the European debut of the S-1 World Championship.

Scheduled for March 4 to 7 at the Loutraki Casino near Athens, Greece, the four-day event will pit eight S-1 national champions against each other in a "sudden death" tournament. Fighters will be competing for a US$10,000 cash purse and a place in the S-1 finals later this year, where even bigger money awaits.

In addition to Meas Chanta from Cambodia, the other S-1 champions competing are Noparat Kietkomtom from Thailand, Stathis Benof from Greece, Cedric Muller from France, Leonid Savelyev from Russia, Dratin from Sweden, Hoesijn Abdelhadi from Morocco, and Rica-eugen Baltes from Romania.

Except Noparat Kietkomtom, who is listed at 65kg, fighters will compete at 70kg.

Under S-1's "8-man pyramid" rules, matches are three, 3-minute rounds with a 2-minute rest; otherwise the rules are the same as Kun Khmer. Elbow strikes, spinning backfists, spinning back-elbows, and grappling are all allowed.

ESPN and Star Sports will broadcast the tournament live, said S-1 spokesperson Siraphop Ratanasuban. CTN is working to televise the fights in Cambodia, people from the station said.

The event is sponsored by Songchai Boxing of Thailand and Queenco Leisure International, which owns the Loutraki Casino. Tickets to the fight will be given to preferred casino customers at no charge, Ratanasuban said. Promoters expect about 2,000 people to attend.

Following the first qualifying round in Greece, two more qualifiers are planned for Romania and the Czech Republic, where Queenco also owns resorts.

Winners from the qualifying rounds will meet later in 2008 in a tournament of champions. The championship matches will likely be held in Bangkok, but promoters said they are considering Phnom Penh.

The purse for the championship bout is one million baht, or about US$32,000 by current exchange rates.

Fight purses in Cambodia rarely exceed a few hundred dollars.

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