Cambodian Bruce Lee named in prestigious Forbes ’30 Under 30 – Asia’ list

Cambodian martial arts superstar Thoeun Theara (right) in action during one of his kickboxing bouts in Bangkok. - Photo: Phnom Penh Post/ANN

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian martial arts superstar Thoeun Theara has been named as one of ’30 Under 30 – Asia – Entertainment & Sports’ by the world-famous Forbes magazine.

The list says that it is ‘Spotlighting the next generation of talent—on court and the screen.’

The magazine states that ‘Though Kun Khmer, Cambodia’s form of martial arts, may not as well known as Thailand’s Muay Thai, but Thoeun Theara is helping bring it recognition — and winning top titles in both.

Theara is also a famed kickboxer. In 2022, he rose to fame after becoming the first Cambodian boxer to win a title at a Thai Fight event when he won the Thai Fight Kard Chuek 72.5 kg King's Cup Championship by knocking out Thai home-grown star Saiyok Pumpanmuang in Thailand.

Since he was 10 years old, Thoeun worked to help support his family, both in Cambodia and as a migrant worker in Thailand, until he joined a Kun Khmer gym in Phnom Penh at age 15, as reported by local media in Phnom Penh.

In 2018, he made the Kun Khmer National Team and in Jan. 2023, thanks to his brutal straight punches, Thoeun defeated Thailand’s top two Muay Thai fighters, becoming the top athlete in that sport worldwide.’

Then he hit big time with the famous victory in 2022 and there has been no looking back since.

After defeating Saiyok Pumpanmuang and Beckham Banchamek, the World Muaythai Organization (WMO) ranked Theara #1 in the world Muaythai middleweight rankings (72.5 kg) category.

In April 2023, Theara defeated Romanian Alex Bublea, at the 72kg weight class to win the Techo Santepheap Kun Khmer World Championship belt. 500,000 viewers watched the live stream of the event on social media.

In November 23, 2023, Theara competed and won the 72kg Kun Khmer 8 MEN Tournament IPCC Kun Khmer World Champion in Phnom Penh and received a pickup car from Ganzberg as a special winning prize.

Theara is considered one of the most successful fighters in Kun Khmer and revered by many back home as their very own version of superstar fighter and legendary martial art king Bruce Lee. He is also well known for his deadly kicks and furious punches during his fights in competitions.

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