Khmer Boxing Federation Blacklists Dave Leduc 

Khmer Boxing Federation President Khov Chhay (L) has banned Canadian boxer Dave Leduc from Kun Khmer tournaments. Chhay announced his decision on June 9 on his Facebook page, following the Canadian boxer’s demand to be paid $1 million to fight against Thai boxers.

PHNOM PENH – Khmer Boxing Federation President Khov Chhay has banned Canadian boxer Dave Leduc from Kun Khmer tournaments. Chhay announced his decision on June 9 on his Facebook page, following the Canadian boxer’s demand to be paid $1 million to fight against Thai boxers.

“Does he want money or want to beat Thai boxers?” said Khov Chhay, adding that Kun Khmer boxers can win against Thai boxers without depending on Dave Leduc. 

“If you [Dave Leduc] want to beat Thai boxers, you can join tournaments in Thailand or in your country, Myanmar,” Chhay said, referring to the fighter’s second citizenship, Burmese. Kun Khmer is capable enough to win against boxers of all nationalities without depending on you,” Chhay said.

“As long as I am the president of the Khmer Boxing Federation, I will never welcome this boxer in a Kun Khmer ring,” Chhay added, stressing that the Canadian boxer would have to wait for a new federation’s president to fight in Kun Khmer tournaments.

Responding to the hypothetical invitation of Leduc by a TV channel to fight in a tournament to boost the channel’s audience, Chhay said the federation would not dispatch any judges, technical officers or referees if the scenario were to happen.

“We don’t hate him, but we cannot work with him, because how could we work with boxers who do not have dignity? How could we walk alongside him?” Chhay said.  

“We are not making anyone our enemy. I am not thinking of him as an enemy. However, he may look for another institution if he wants to fight. As for us, we don’t welcome him,” Chhay added.

Chhay’s resentment against Leduc stems from the boxer’s recent hostility towards the federation and the organizers of several Kun Khmer tournaments.

Multiple controversies

Recalling a friendly match between Dave Leduc and Prum Samnang in Cambodia in late 2023, Chhay said Leduc asked to fight with raw threads instead of gloves, as in Burmese martial art, Lethwei, while Kun Khmer’s rules usually call for gloves.

The request to fight with raw threads came only nine minutes before the beginning of the match, while it had already been agreed that fighters would fight with gloves. However, the organizers gave in to the Canadian’s request. 

“Usually, fighters should follow the rules when they fight. Whether they are Lethwei or Muay Thai boxers, they have to follow Kun Khmer rules when fighting in Cambodia,” Chhay said.

In response, Dave Leduc said at a press conference on June 10 that he “did not change the rule when fighting with Prum Samnang. All of you know that I don’t fight with gloves. I am the Bareknuckle champion, and using raw threads is important for me when fighting in Cambodia.” 

“Promotor had promised me that my match would be with raw threads, and then he tried to change it before the match began. He clearly knew the truth. You may check my official fights on social media that have over a million views: I gave a detailed explanation,” he added.

Another crispation between Leduc and the Kun Khmer federation arose when the fighter used the popularity of Kun Khmer to advertise for Lethwei – the Burmese martial art – through videos and outside activities. “He was only not promoting Kun Khmer but also was humiliating the martial art,” Chhay said. 

“At first, he was being nice to us, then he used us as a stepping stone by praising Kun Khmer. He used Kun Khmer programs to promote Lethwei. That was not wrong, but the organizers had spent millions of dollars to invite the former eight-division champion boxer Manny Pacquiao into their program, and he took advantage of it to promote his martial art in the programs,” Chhay added. 

According to the federation’s president, Dave Leduc had been told not to perform the symbols of Lethwei to Manny Pacquiao as it was a Kun Khmer fight, but the Canadian boxer did otherwise. 

In this sense, Dave Leduc added that preventing him from doing so was discrimination. 

He wrote on his Facebook that, “I have shown the symbol of Lethwei to Manny Pacquiao when we met last week in Kun Khmer tournament. However, Khov Chhay said I could not do that, and would not allow me to fight on Kun Khmer tournament anymore. I made the Lethwei symbol with all the boxers I met; it’s the representation of my martial art. Is it against Kun Khmer rule to share the culture of my martial art?” 

Khov Chhay responded that he does not discriminate against Dave Leduc, but he does not want to work with the Canadian boxer anymore.  

“I take all responsibility for all my words. I do not discriminate against any nationality – every nation has good and bad individuals. I do not make anyone my enemy, but I just do not want to work with arrogant people,” Chhay said. 

“As long as you’re still arrogant, I will never work with you. You have the right to stay in Cambodia, and I, as a Cambodian, welcome you as an investor. I am happy about that. However, I will never cooperate with you if you want to fight in Kun Khmer tournaments because I have no trust in you.

“Whoever promotes Kun Khmer is my friend, but I don’t tolerate whoever humiliates Kun Khmer,” Chhay added. 

Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this story was translated by Meng Seavmey for Cambodianess.  

Related Articles