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Khmer Boxing Chief Bars Fighter Over Comments

Phnom Penh, June 11, 2024: Lieutenant General Khov Chhay, newly appointed president of the Khmer Boxing Federation, has declared that Dave Leduc, a prominent Lethwei fighter, will not be permitted to compete in Cambodia while he is in charge. This decision follows Chhay's election as federation president on March 29, succeeding Tem Moeun.

Chhay cited a controversial social media statement by Leduc, who demanded "$1 million to fight again" and expressed a desire to exclusively challenge Muay Thai fighters, claiming that Muay Thai had copied Khmer martial arts. "I will knock out Muay Thai fighters because I think Muay Thai copied Khmer martial arts. I want to fight once more, but only against Muay Thai fighters,” Leduc wrote.

The federation's stance was outlined by Chhay during an interview on June 9, where he criticized Leduc's comments and monetary demands as self-serving and detrimental to the promotion of Khmer boxing. "Dave Leduc talks about the issues between Khmer martial arts and Muay Thai. As a federation, we strive to avoid creating divisions or provoking racial discrimination because such actions lead to hostility. We are a peaceful country and do not need actions that provoke hatred and lead to conflict,” Chhay explained.

Chhay also highlighted Leduc's behavior during the Mas Fight event on November 5, 2023, involving Cambodian fighter Prum Samnang. He alleged that Leduc had agreed to fight with gloves but demanded to fight with wraps at the last minute, causing a significant delay. "We had to accommodate Leduc’s last-minute demands to avoid disrupting the event. This shows his manipulative nature, and as long as I am president, he will not be allowed to fight in Cambodia," Chhay asserted.

In response, Leduc, who now resides in Cambodia and owns a café in Phnom Penh, refuted Chhay’s claims as unprofessional and disrespectful. He took to social media on June 10 to defend his contributions to Cambodia. "I love Cambodia. I live here with my family, and my one-month-old child was born here. I have invested and created jobs here, promoting Khmer boxing almost daily," Leduc stated.

Despite the ongoing controversy, Chhay remains firm on his stance not to allow Leduc to compete in Cambodia, emphasizing that his federation seeks to uphold the integrity and values of Khmer martial arts without the disruption caused by divisive figures.

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