Brazilian Kickboxer Thiago Teixeira Granted Citizenship for Promoting Sport

Thiago Teixeira

At the behest of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, citizenship has been granted to  kickboxer Thiago Teixeira and his wife for promoting Kun Khmer, the national martial art of the Kingdom.

The move comes at a time of intense squabbling between Thailand and Cambodia about whether the sport should be referred to9 as Kun Khmer, or Muoy Thai.

You can read about the past here.

What next for Thiago Teixeira

Asaide from a fancy new passport for him and his wife after citizenship was granted by King Norodom Sihamoni through a royal decree dated April 11, the athlete has also received $20,000 sponsorship from the Prime-Minister himself.

The announcement follows controversy after he was stripped of a middleweight title that he won at the Apex Fight Series on April 1st by the World Muay Thai Organization, or WMO. At the event he reportedly waved a Cambodian flag, thus showing his own position on what the sport should be called.

He has also previously stated his wish to represent and fight in Kun Khmer, rather than Muay Thai. The overall argument revolves around who invented the sport, but has been reinvigorated by Cambodia removing Muay Thai and replacing it at the SEA Games with Kun Khmer – something it has everything right to do as host country.

Was it a power play?

Critics have argued the merit and indeed legality of granting citizenship, with some stating it was merely for popularity before the elections this year. Others have stated that legally one must. Reside in Cambodia for 5 years before being granted citizenship.

In reality though every country reserves the right, including Thailand to grant citizenship to someone who goes above and beyond for their country. Ironically had he not been stripped of his title by the Thai’s, he would her arguably not been granted Cambodian citizenship.

In fact Cambodia offers one of the easiest routes to citizenship within the region, particularly when compared to Thailand.

To read about citizenship by investment in Cambodia click here

Fir his part  Teixeira recently commented to local media after signing a contract with the World Champion Kun Khmer Club, that he already considered Cambodia “his home” and he would continue to promote Kun Khmer globally.

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


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