Paddy Mun Sophea, blue, scored a third-round knockdown over Ot Phuthang on his way toward outpointing the Kun Khmer fighting legend in their 68-kilogram bout Sunday, Nov 13. The win improved Paddy Mun Sophea’s record to 14-0 (7 KOs).

Paddy Mun Sophea is scheduled to face Chey Kosal at the CTN boxing arena Dec 18.

CORRECTION. the fight against Chey Kosal is Sunday Dec 18, not Saturday the 17.

Paddy Saeng Ratana is boxing today in an 8-man tournament at TV3. Ratana is 1-0 so far in the tournament, having knocked out My Socheat in his first bout last month.

Not only a boxer, Ratana is also a teacher at the gym, and, as the photo above suggests, a tuk-tuk driver. Come support him today if you can. The fights start at 4 p.m. And good luck, Ratana.

On day six of training, with two K-1 Fight Factory instructors pushing me, I broke my personal record, 10 sets of Randy Couture speed weightlifting routine, each in just under a minute. On the first day, my average had been two minutes.

These are the kinds of insane results you can get training three times a day, in a scientifically designed, well-thought-out training regime. In the first seven days I lost 2kgs of fat, but the real transformation was in both endurance and fighting ability. Sparring was always the last exercise of the day, and on the evening of the day I broke my Couture record, I sparred five rounds of English boxing and four of grappling.

I’m preparing for an MMA fight in Malaysia, called Mayhem 2, to be held, September 10,11, sponsored by Muayfit. I could have chosen any country to prepare in, but I chose Cambodia, and David Minetti, owner of the K-1 Fight Factory, agreed to put Team Mineti on the task of getting me, the Booklyn Monk, fit to fight. Of course, there is no guarantee I’ll win, but I’m certain I won’t be breathing hard.

You’re So Fat

The first day I walked in, it looked like I had an impossible task ahead of me.

“You’re so fat,” said Alvaro Lealdela Torre, the lead grappling instructor at K-1 Fight Factory, Phnom Penh. “And you want to fight in 30 days.” He asked if there was anything else he should know. So, I told him: “I’m 44 years old. This is my first MMA fight, oh, and I don’t know how to grapple.”

Alvaro shook his head. “Two months would be better,” he finally said. “We can do it, but we can’t start gradually. We have no time for that. We start hard training tomorrow.”

The schedule Alvaro made for me was heavy on cardio and also on strength. Although I am 10 kgs overweight, I am still 87 kgs of muscle, so you wouldn’t normally see strength training as a priority. But, the way they explained it to me, strength for MMA training is about developing explosive power. Which is very different than long, static weight lifting sessions I was used to. All of the strength training was done with timed weight lifting exercises, with one minute rest between sets. The sets had to be done as fast as possible. And when you are doing them, it definitely feels like a fight.

Getting Tired

Although this is my first MMA fight, I have had boxing fights in the past. In a fight, you get so tired, but you still have to keep throwing hands. Also you have to move out of the way of punches. I have had the experience of being so tired that it was less effort to get hit than to move. And as any good trainer will tell you, it is when you are out of breath, on your last legs, that the knockout comes. The same punch, thrown in the first round might not even ring your bell.

In MMA, you can get equally as tired as in boxing, but you may find yourself exhausted, panting for breath, with a huge 90 kg guy sitting on your chest, punching you in the face. That’s when you need the cardio and explosive power to escape, or you will simply give up, tap or get knocked out.

Preparing for a boxing fight, you do a lot of boxing and running. And it all looks like boxing. But preparing for an MMA fight is a lot more like going to boot camp. Probably 80% of the training is fitness and strength, rather than fighting. Each exercise is designed to push you beyond your limit. I frequently collapse in the gym. Then, after a minute’s rest, or no rest, they tell me to get up and do the next exercise.

Getting Fit

In a typical morning session, I have to do wind sprints on the exercise bicycle for 45 minutes. This is followed by hundreds of ab reps. Then I go home, rest, and come back in the evening for boxing and MMA. Each session starts with more abs and more cardio exercises. At the end of the very long training day, I have sparring. Often, before we start, I am already beyond the limit of what any sane person would do. I can barely stand, and I am just starting the sparring rounds. When the boxing sparring is over, then we have grappling. Every muscle screams. Everything burns. You just want to quit, or beg the trainers to let you out early. But in your heart, you know that if you quit in training, you will quit in the fight.

So, you push on. You finish the session.

Last night, after five rounds of boxing and four of grappling, I couldn’t stand. I just lay on my back, in a puddle of sweat, while the coach stood over me and told me what I had done wrong. Then he said, “Just one more thing.” He sat on my chest, punched me in the face, and explained how I should have escaped. I was so tired the explanation was going in one ear and out the other. “And another thing…” He began showing me how I should have used my leg to lift my opponent’s leg and flip him off of me. And another thing, and another, and another….

When I left the gym, I looked at my watch, only eleven hours till I had to be back for my next session of bicycle sprints.

And all of this was achieved in just over a week.

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website,

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. He is the author of the books “Warrior Odyssey” and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Angkor Youth Boxing Club fighter Paddy Mun Sophea outpointed Kun Khmer III Champion Morn Kimlong for a second time in as many months Sunday in their welterweight bout at the CTN Boxing arena.

Paddy Mun Sophea flattened Morn Kimlong early in the first round with a right-left punch combination. A generous count kept the club Preak Aing fighter in the bout,  but Sophea continued to dominate with big left hand bombs until the final bell.

Sophea kept his undefeated record intact, improving to 12-0  with 7 knockouts.


Long Sovanduen dropped local fight legend Ot Phutang in the second round on his toward scoring an upset decision victory Saturday at the TV3 boxing arena.

Long Sovanduen, a relatively unheralded newcomer, landed a left-right late in the second round that put the 200-plus fight veteran flat on the canvas. Ot Phutang returned to his feet and the two traded head-snapping bombs until the final bell, in what mostly turned out to be a kick-free boxing slugfest.

Sophea, the current rising star of the stable, will face Kun Khmer III champion Morn Kimlong on Sunday at CTN. Sophea is 11-0 with 7 knockouts heading into Sunday’s bout. (Sophea is the one on the left.)


The Cambodian fighting sport of Bokator held its first international tourney Saturday (July 16, 2011) on the grounds of Angkor Wat Archeological Park, spiritual birthplace of the Cambodian people.

Bokator is believed to be the hand-to-hand fighting system of the ancient Angkorean army, whose kingdom dominated much of what is today known as Southeast Asia.

In four bouts — 3 rounds by 3 minutes — the French fighters won them all, 3 by first-round stoppage and one on points. Despite the blowout, Master Ta Sean, the coach of the Cambodian team, said he was proud of his boys for fighting without fear, even against better trained and massively better funded opponents.

Philippe Sibire, coach of the French team and primary sponsor of the event, said he was already planning a second international Bokator tournament in Phnom Penh, likely early next year.




The annual national tournament, which includes about 90 percent of the fighters in Cambodia, began today at the indoor arena at Olympic Stadium.

People said this year’s total topped more than 500 boxers and kick boxers. This is the first year that the tournament has been held at the indoor arena at Olympic Stadium, the country’s premiere performance hall.

On the opening day, the fight card included 90 matches across two rings. In the coming days, the number will dwindle to a final 16.

Tim ‘TNT’ Thomas stopped Meas Chantha with 5 seconds left in their ISKA world middleweight title fight to win the strap for a second time in his career.

In the cofeature, Vorn Viva shook off a not-so-flash knockdown in the third round to fight his way back to a narrow decision victory and retain his ISKA world welterweight title.

Approximately 7,000 fans watched the fights live Friday night at the indoor arena of the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh. Many more watched the live stream on the Internet.

Thomas rocked Meas Chantha with an uppercut with less than a minute to go in the fight. Meas Chantha struggled to his feet, but hurt badly, he was largely defenseless, and Thomas unloaded the heavy hands for which he is famous to earn two more quick knockdowns and force an end to the bout.

Vorn Viva started quickly, and he was largely in control of the fight until midway through the third round when he walked into a left elbow from English challenger Ben Barwise. Barwise followed the elbow with a hard knee to the body, then spun the hurt champion into the neutral corner and dropped him with a series of punches.

Vorn Viva kept busy in the fourth and came on strong in the fifth to score a not entirely convincing win and retain his welterweight title.

Tim “TNT” Thomas and Ben Barwise spent some time at Paddy’s Gym on Wednesday morning dealing with the heat and working the pads ahead of Friday night’s world championships. Thomas will face Meas Chantha at 67kg for the ISKA world middleweight title. Barwise will take on Vorn Viva for the welterweight title.

Chey Kosal will take on Pich Seyha on the undercard. The fights will be held at the indoor arena at Olympic Stadium. Doors open at 5 p.m. Ezecom will stream the event live.

A few photos from Wednesday’s workout.



Starts after the World Titles on July 8, probably the 15th or the 21st, said CTN director of sports Ma Serey.

Reachesay Baba
Pov Siyat
Hul Dara
Chey Vannak
Thea Rithy
Ung Bora

Aem Litho
Leap Samnang
Khon Sichan
Put Samone
Sarim Nga
Soy Sophat

Vorn Viva and Meas Chantha will defend their title July 8, 2011, and the indoor arena at the Olympic Stadium.

Cambodian fighters went 2-2 today in four international fights at Old Stadium.

Thun Sophea was upset by South African fighter Bakhulhule Baai, who earned the decision behind prolific punching. Baai beat Thun Sophea around the ring in the second. Thun Sophea countered with hard kicks to the body through the later rounds, slowing the Cape Town native, but he never did enough to take back the momentum of the fight, which in the final two rounds was marked by long stretches of inactivity, as each fighter waited to counter.

Sen Bunthen smashed Iranian Hesam Fadaei, as well he should have. Fadaei, who boasted an amateur career or more than 200 fights, was making just his second professional appearance. After cruising through the first, Sen Bunthen opened the second with half a dozen hard right kicks to the body, sending the Iranian to his knees wincing in pain.

Phan Phonna scored a knockdown in the third round against Kenyan kickboxer Leo Nganga, but otherwise struggled against a game opponent. The Kenyan scored with low kicks and good body work, and he cut Phon Phanna with a knee to the right eye in the final round. But Phon Phanna, who has yet to lose a professional bout since returning to the local scene 11 months ago, turned it on often enough to stay out front, cruising to a points decision.

Van Chanvey got KTFO’d. An elbow in the third round from Spanish champion Juan Montenegro put the Battambang powerhouse to bed. Despite the evidence, referee Chhit Sarim counted all the way to ten, but Van Chanvey was still disconcertingly unresponsive. He finally work up about the 25 mark.

Kun Khmer vs Muay Laos results:

  • Vorn Viva 2nd-round TKO victory over Sathith Keointa, 74kg
  • Lao Sinath unanimous decision over Sangpheth Vonghavimath, 64kg
  • Em Vutha split decision over Noukhith, 57kg
  • Saen Rady 3rd-round TKO over Samboun Vongsa, 54kg

Vorn Viva knocked Sathith Keointa out cold with a left elbow, right kick to the body combination, after scoring a knockdown with the left elbow seconds earlier. Until that point, however, the fight was dead even, with both sides landing lots of clean, hard shots.

Em Vutha won the middle three rounds in his bout with Noukhith, who was introduced as a 2009 SEA Games gold medalists. Vutha was stronger in the clinch, had the better hands and landed the better counter shots.

Lao Sinath convincingly beat a very tough Sangpheth Vonghavimath. It was clear early that Sinath was better, and the Cambodian fighter largely carried his Laos opponent though the final two rounds. The Laos guy showed tremendous heart, though. He took a fierce beating.

Saen Rady, aka Muteh Kmang, stole the show in a three-round non-stop brawl, scoring three knockdowns in the third against a significantly taller opponent. A spinning back elbow from the Laos fighter dropped Kmang in the second, but it did not earn a count. It hardly mattered. In the third, the 17-year-old Cambodian unloaded, dropping the Laos fighter twice and then forcing referee Trueng Sossay to stop the fight as Rady had Samboun Vongsa trapped on the ropes and getting pummeled.

On the undercard, Morn Kimlong scored an upset decision over a lackluster Khon Reach, and Suong Sovantha outpointed Nuon Vichet.

Team Laos, at the press conference last night at CTN. The guy looking at the camera will be looking across the ring at Vorn Viva in the main event tonight. Everyone appeared in good spirits. Results later tonight.

More photos after the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Um Dara, among the clubhouse leaders at the RCAF boxing club, was killed in a traffic accident Sunday night. He was 23 years old.

According to unconfirmed reports, Mr Dara, from Kampong Cham, was hit by a truck about 11:30 p.m as he attempted to make a left turn near the flyover bridge on Norodom Blvd.

Known as “Black Face” for the prominent birth mark across the bridge of his nose, Mr Dara was among the longest serving active fighters at the RCAF club. He often fought around 70 kilograms, a division were the ranks are thin. He last fought Sept 25, in a losing effort to Irish fighter Josh Palmer at the TV3 boxing arena.

The Phnom Penh Post has more.

CORRECTION: The original post said Um Dara was 28. The Post reports that he was 23. The story has been changed accordingly.

Assorted highlights from the weekend.

  • Kao Roomchang kicked Lao Sinath‘s ass on Saturday at the TV3 boxing arena, scoring a second-round knockout via big right-hand bomb.
  • Kao Roomchang will finally get a title shot. He challenges Long Sophy on Nov 14 at TV5 for Sophy’s TV5 light-welterweight (63.5 kilogram) belt.
  • Viet Bunduon, the tough-luck youngster from Pailin, upset Khon Sichan at CTN on Saturday. Keep your eye on this kid.
  • Aem Khlimkhmao upset Van Chanvey at Bayon on Sunday, scoring a knockdown in the third and taking the decision. Expect a rematch!
  • TV5 will host international matches Friday Nov 19 at Old Stadium. Sen Bunthen expected to be on the card.

Beyond Cambodia: Tony Margarito, who looks in awesome condition, is reportedly having a stellar camp. Manny not so much. But that will hardly matter come Nov 13. Because even on Pacquiao’s worst day, and Margarito on his best, Pacman is still in a different class.

The details on this card are in. Six fights, two local, two international.


  • Suong Sovantha vs Nuon Vichet (57kg)
  • Morn Kimlong vs Khon Reach (65kg)


  • Sen Rady vs Soukhanh Taipanyavong (54kg)
  • Em Vutha vs Thongbang Seuaphom (57kg)
  • Lao Sinath vs Kominh (65kg)
  • Vorn Viva v Sathith (74 kg)

The Laos fighters are all reportedly SEA Games gold medal winners. Vorn Viva is the ISKA world middleweight champion. Lao Sinath is the CTN 60kg and 63.5 kg champion. Em Vutha was the 2008 national champion at 57 kg. Sen Rady, the fighter formerly know as Muteh Khmang, is the latest hot-shot prodigy to emerge from the jungles of Koh Kong.

On the undercard, Morn Kimlong was the winner in the third season of Kun Khmer Champion, CTN’s reality boxing series. He faces Khon Reach, who emerged during season one of the series and is now the 65-kilogram champion at CTN. Nuon Vichet — Nuon Sorya’s younger brother — and Suong Sovantha are both experienced youngsters on the ascendance. (It’s great to see CTN give some of the good young guys a shot on the international stage.)


Ticket prices are:

  • $3
  • $5
  • $25 VIP seats
  • $250 VIP tables

VIP seats/tables are on the stage and include free-flow beer and snacks. Tickets go on sale Tuesday Nov 2. at the CTN Studio. For VIP seats call 078 888 700 (English) or 012 972 811 (Khmer). General admission tickets are available at the CTN studio, Russey Keo. They are guaranteed to sell out.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov 9.

TOP: Paddy Carson, the promoter of the Cambodia vs Laos tournament scheduled for Nov 9, is introduced along with ISKA World Middleweight Champion Vorn Viva, left, and Cambodian fight great Eh Phoutang. Viva and Eh went five friendly rounds in a bout that ended with “no winner, no loser.” BOTTOM: Koh Kong’s Eh Phoutang lands a “friendly” kick to the face.

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