During the past 3 years, Lethwei has emerged on the world stage from being known as a brutal sport to the fastest growing combat sport in the world, mainly due to the growth of the World Lethwei Championship. World Lethwei Championship’s rise in popularity is unprecedented, transcending the sport of Lethwei.
World Lethwei Championship was founded by Mr. Zay Thiha, and its first event held in Yangon on 3 March 2017. This event-based on Myanmar’s top Lethwei fighters including Tun Tun Min, Too Too, Thway Thit Win Hlaing, Phoe Thaw, etc. Starting from this event, World Lethwei Championship uses a scoring system which was sanctioned by Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation (MTBF) over 20 years ago.
Today, the popularity of the World Lethwei Championship has some level and now its events are broadcasting live in over 60 countries. In 2019, World Lethwei Championship made a deal with Canal+ and UFC Fight Pass for its events broadcast rights. This growth has helped Lethwei gain international recognition, growing the reputation of World Lethwei Championship as an organisation that will change the sports industry landscape in the next decade.
Mr. Zay Thiha, chairman and founder of World Lethwei Championship, sees this growth as an opportunity to get more popularity of Lethwei and to build the World Lethwei Championship brand. Since 2019 World Lethwei Championship plans to do great Lethwei events all over the world and now they are preparing for the very first Lethwei event in Cambodia.
The seeds for growing the sport in Cambodia have been brewing since the first event, and a Cambodian has featured in every World Lethwei Championship event. The Cambodian athletes that have participated include Khmer boxing superstar Roeung Sophorn as well as female star Nou Srey Pov, who became the first woman winner in World Lethwei Championship history.
Now, Phnom Penh is set to play host to the organization’s first international event. WLC: KHMER KINGDOM is a historic event that will showcase the cultures of Cambodia on World Lethwei Championship’s international broadcast, with the outfits, music, and traditions of Cambodia incorporated into the live broadcast. A fight card featuring Cambodia’s biggest superstars is planned, including a Khmer boxing superfight!
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, 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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