Photo: Take that!

Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing)

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Chances are you may have heard of muay Thai (Thai kick boxing), but what about Kun Khmer (also known as Pradal Serey)? Want to know more? Khmer kick boxing is on every Friday through Sunday and best of all it is free.





Most people’s first encounter with Khmer boxing is walking past a cafe full of shouting, grunting men and thinking it’s all about to kick off in there. It’s not; they’re just gathered around their iced coffees getting in the spirit of the sport on TV. While this is an event in itself, the best way to appreciate a boxing match is up close and personal, next to the ring.

Who knew boxing needed so many judges? Photo taken in or around Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

Who knew boxing needed so many judges? Photo: Stuart McDonald

Ask your guesthouse or a friendly tuk tuk driver which TV station is staging a fight—generally, it’s TV5 on Fridays and Saturdays, Bayon and CTN on Saturdays and Sundays. The CTN studio is the easiest to get to, just six kilometres from the city centre, but as we had slotted in Sunday as being boxing day, we headed to Bayon.

On arrival, after a brief frisk down and removing our cap, we headed to the warehouse building (along with our tuk tuk driver who was way more excited about being there than we were), led by a man in a silver suit (yes really) through a black curtain and into the stadium. A special ringside area is put aside for foreigners, so after passing by the judging panel, we sat down with perhaps a dozen other travellers and awaited the spectacle.

The guy in red didn’t make it to the second round. Photo taken in or around Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

The guy in red didn’t make it to the second round. Photo: Stuart McDonald

We saw three fights on the night. All three were the real deal—this isn’t a floor show for tourists. In the second bout the loser was knocked out shortly into the first round (ending the fight), while in the final fight we thought both boxers were going to end up outside the ring.

Between matches there is a floorshow and there are plenty of opportunities to get on Cambodian TV—we managed it at least twice. It is good to go with a driver who can act as a bit of a translator for what is going on, but, at the end of the day you’re there to watch two grown men try to beat each other senseless, so not too much explanation ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing)
Locations across Phnom Penh.
Admission: Free

Location map for Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing)

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