Thai champ unfazed by Cambodian move to replace Muay Thai with local martial art
Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek on Thursday asked Thais not to worry about Cambodia's move to refer to kickboxing as “Kun Khmer”, asserting that Thailand's martial art is number one.
Cambodia, which would host this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, sparked controversy when it replaced Muay Thai with Kun Khmer as one of the disciplines.
The National Olympic Committee of Thailand announced on Tuesday that no Thai athletes would compete in kickboxing at the regional games, hosted by Phnom Penh from May 5-17.
"It is their [Cambodia] right," Buakaw said. "We do not have to worry about it because we are paying more attention to the Olympic level."
He also denied Cambodian netizens' claims that he has Cambodian lineage, saying that he was indeed an original Thai person.
Srey Chanthorn, honorary vice president of the Khmer Boxing Federation, announced later that he would give a villa, a car and additional money for 10 years to any Cambodian boxer who could beat Buakaw.
Meanwhile, Banchamek Gym's Facebook page confirmed that Buakaw did not have any problem with Kun Khmer or Cambodian netizens.
However, the page also asked Cambodian boxing agencies to pay the remaining 2.2 million baht for hiring Buakaw to participate in recent World Fight Tournament in Cambodia.