Cambodia Double Down in Kun Khmer Spat Despite Thai Boycott Threat

Kun Khmer

Cambodia have stated that they will be using the term “Kun Khmer” to refer to the sport otherwise known as Muoy Thai in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, despite Thailand threatening to boycott the event.

To read about the ongoing spat click here

The spat which has been going on for moths recently took a turn when Sakchye Tapsuwan, President of the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) threatened a boycott in an interview with a Thai broadcaster.

And while the threat of a boycott from Thailand is bad enough, the argument is now threatening to draw in other nations with Sakchye Tapsuwan further threatening “The IFMA has sent a letter to the countries of the ASEAN region, warning them that if they opt to participate, they will not be allowed to participate at the IFMA’s sporting events, especially the upcoming Asian Indoor Games,”

He further added that should Thailand be granted the 33rd SEA Games in 2025 then participating countries in “Kun Khmer” at Cambodia 2023 would also be barred from those games.

A move that will undoubtedly put pressure on 3rd nations participants, with Thai tournaments generally considered the most prestigious. Kun Khmer, or Muoy Thai is popular throughout Southeast Asia. 

What are Cambodia saying?

From the Cambodian side though the issue is a non-starter, with SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC)  Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun stating the decision was final in a letter shared with participating nations.“Even if the Thai sporting federation takes issue with our decision and threatens to boycott, Kun Khmer will remain an event at the 32nd SEA Games. According to the rules, if there are four or more participating countries, it is eligible for the games. So far, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia are planning to enter, so we don’t care if one nation decides not to take part,” he added.

Cambodia has previously stressed that as host nation it thus has the right to call the sport what it sees fit, as has been done by previous hosts with regards to other contentiously named sports.

Kun Khmer or Muoy Thai – What’s it all about?

In short whether the the popular kickboxing code should be known as Kun Khmer, or Muoy Thai, but perhaps more importantly where the sport actually originated from, with both sides laying claim.

The argument has become so intense that it has flared in competitions between the two countries, has led to statements from government officials on both sides and now perhaps most importantly a potential boycott from the arguably the best players.

Our take on this? Fight it out in the ring…..

To read the Thai take on things click here

This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.


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