In the last few years, the top promising athletes in the Art of Nine Limbs, lethwei, fighters like Antonio Faria, Sasha Moisa, Souris Manfredi, and Hein Tun Aung, rose to the pinnacle of the lethwei pyramid as soon as they got the chance to prove their skillset on the sport’s biggest promotion – World Lethwei Championship. These newcomers looked to follow in their footsteps and showed their elite abilities in their incredible world-class debuts in 2020.
Somiong garnered the best reputation on the global lethwei scene after he joined World Lethwei Championship. Having made his name in the muay thai circuit in Thailand, Somiong debuted in lethwei in January. at WLC: Battlebones and showed how he can eliminate the opponent with a great approach and combos of knockout weapons. He defeated Cambodia’s best featherweight via an empathic knockout. He then fought again at WLC: Hideout Battle with a more difficult opponent, Korean-Uzbekistan kickboxing world champion Artur Te. He stepped up to the occasion in a back-and-forth brawl to win his second bout as well, cementing himself as one of the most exciting talents on the roster.
At WLC: Battlebones, Uzbekistan’s world-class athlete Naimjon Tuhtaboyev had a chance to challenge for the Middleweight World Lethwei Champion title against old rival Too Too. Having previously defeated Too Too in a muay thai contest, he knew what it took. He had only one lethwei fight previously while the defending champion Too Too was undefeated in more than three years. He showed his superiority again and trounced Too Too via split decision to become the promotion’s second Middleweight World Champion, bringing the belt back to Uzbekistan where he was greeted by hundreds of Uzbek fans at the airport who welcomed his triumphant return.
The Mongolian sensation joined the promotion this year and he fought his first bout at WLC: Hideout Battle. At the opening of the fight, his opponent, Nur Mohammad kept his distance with many punches but Myagmarsuren Borkhuu changed his game plan and beautifully applied it in the later rounds, ending the fight with a headbutt, punch and leg kick combo. He showed his toughness, big heart, and enthusiasm and is one to watch in the future.
Italy’s Mariam Sabot is a seasoned veteran having won titles in almost every promotion she competed for. She debuted against Thailand youngster Petchnaree at WLC: Lethwei Showcase and presented her powerful striking, notably her weaponized elbows and proved that she is not afraid to earn a win in the lethwei ring. By winning the fight with her fearless style, Mariam Sabot left no doubts in the eyes of Myanmar traditional martial art fans that she is one to watch in the coming years.
Moroccan sensation Ayoub Elamghari debuted for the organization at WLC: Lethwei Showcase and he took on the experienced and dangerous Myanmar athlete Jay Chay. Even though his opponent was a pressure fighter, Ayoub Elamghari dodged the strikes adeptly and cleverly set him up to hit him hurt with his well-timed punches. After 15 minutes of action in which he dominated, Elamghari got the win via a decision proving that he is a prospect to watch in the exciting Bantamweight division.
The 2020 World Lethwei Awards is now open for voting. Voters stand to win limited edition merchandise as they choose their favourite stars and action from the 2020 season. Check out www.facebook.com/worldlethwei for more information.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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