The Khmer Fighters. Photography: ©Omar Havana

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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA. Vorn Viva, ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) Middleweight world champion, elbows his opponent, the Colombian Eddie Vendetta, during a fight in the Siem Reap arena in Cambodia. On August 2008, Cambodian boxers Vorn Viva and Meas Chantha won the ISKA Middleweight and Welterweight world titles in Phnom Penh; it was the first time a Cambodian had held a kickboxing world title. Pradal Serey or Kun Khmer -free fighting- is an unarmed martial art from Cambodia. Compared to other forms of Southeast Asian kickboxing, Kun Khmer emphasises more elusive and shifty fighting stances. The Cambodian style tends to utilise more elbows than that of other regions. Evidence shows that a style resembling pradal serey existed in the 9th century, leading the Khmer to believe all Southeast Asian forms of kickboxing started with the early Mon-Khmer people. They maintain that Pradal Serey has influenced much of the basis of Muay Thai. During the Khmer Rouge genocide, traditional martial arts were banned and many boxers were executed or worked to death, which nearly caused the death of pradal serey. Nowadays, Kun Khmer is making a strong comeback in Cambodia, with fighters attempting to market their style of boxing at the same caliber of Muay Thai. Photography: ©Omar Havana
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA. Vorn Viva, ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) Middleweight world champion, elbows his opponent, the Colombian Eddie Vendetta, during a fight in the Siem Reap arena in Cambodia. On August 2008, Cambodian boxers Vorn Viva and Meas Chantha won the ISKA Middleweight and Welterweight world titles in Phnom Penh; it was the first time a Cambodian had held a kickboxing world title. Pradal Serey or Kun Khmer -free fighting- is an unarmed martial art from Cambodia....
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