For the first time in history, Paris played host to the iconic Kun Khmer All Stars boxing event on June 24th, an intercontinental showdown co-organised with French-based RAHU Fight III and Prodal Poran Club. The martial arts spectacle, traditionally held in Cambodia, found its new battleground at the Michel-Jazy Gymnasium in Bussy-Saint-Georges.
Seven exciting matches were staged, with four electrifying face-offs between Cambodian and French fighters. France’s own Alexandra Chatenet, a 23-year-old Khmer martial artist who discovered the sport at 14, stood as a testament to the international appeal of Khmer boxing.
Led by Sorn Elite, the dynamic founder of Khmer All Star Martial Arts Program, the Cambodian contingent, including Pich Sambath, Moeun Sokhuch and Vy Samphors, arrived in France on June 16 to fine-tune their skills for the grand occasion. Trained and ready, these fighters aimed to spotlight the traditional Kun Khmer on a global stage.
Despite the financial and logistical challenges of bringing the Kun Khmer All Stars RAHU Fight III to French soil, Sorn persevered to elevate the Cambodian sport to international prominence. Athletes’ accommodation, meals, and travel were generously sponsored by the RAHU Fight III club.
Sorn admitted: “We initially had seven Cambodian boxers set to compete. However, three were unable to attend. Despite this setback, we’re committed to exhibiting the best of Cambodian athleticism to the world”.
The event saw Cambodian Pich Sambath challenge French champion Faycal Bahroudi, while Moeun Sokhuch went head to head with Yanis Kassem, and Vy Samphors squared off against Ghilas Barache. France’s Sarah Ladjali was pitted against her countrywoman, Alexandra Chatenet.
Paris-based Prodal Boran Club’s president, the event’s driving force, viewed this as a monumental step for Kun Khmer. He lauded the effort of Cambodian promoters and the working group who ventured to Europe to advance their national sport on foreign soil.
Sorn Elite has ambitions of taking the Kun Khmer All Stars event to the US. However, financial constraints mean future competitions hinge on securing additional sponsors.
Undeterred, Sorn remains hopeful, stating: “I’ve seen the enormity of the US, the logistical challenges are immense. But I’m optimistic, with the right support, we can continue to showcase Kun Khmer on a global scale.”