PHNOM PENH: Tycoon Srey Chanthorn announced through his Facebook page on Thursday, 2 February 2023, that he is willing to award a villa worth tens of thousands of dollars, a car and a monthly stipend for 10 years to any Cambodian boxer that can beat the martial artist Buakaw Banchamek.
The tycoon made this announcement after Thai martial artist of ethnic Kuy descent, Buakaw Banchamek, made a statement insulting Khmer martial arts. Buakaw said during a press conference that ‘Kun Khmer’ is something that is only recognized in the Southeast Asian region, while “Muay Thai” is considered a world sport recognized by the Olympics.
“Do not worry about Cambodia using the name 'Kun Khmer' because Cambodia is the host of the SEA Games and it is only a Southeast Asian or ASEAN sport, while Muay Thai is an Olympic and world class sport," said the Thai boxer. "We have to talk about it in terms of the Olympics because our original Thai [sport] is already number one.”
7NG CEO, Srey Chanthorn, responded to this by writing in a Facebook post, “Speaking as the honorary vice president of the Khmer Boxing Federation, Cambodia also has strong fighers, so if any Khmer boxer can beat and win against Buakaw, I’ll give you a villa, a car, and an additional stipend for 10 years. This is an encouragement to Cambodian players to fight for our motherland.”
Since the video of Buakaw speaking at a press conference was posted by Thai media, many Cambodians have expressed anger and dissatisfaction, leading to a further resurgence of tensions between the people of the two neighboring nations, over who originated the martial art style in question. Meanwhile, the Thai Prime Minister has called for an end to this martial arts row.