Lethwei is becoming one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
With so many athletes fighting to capture the spectators’ attention, it is harder for any fighter to stand out from the squad. At World Lethwei Championship, new athletes are joining every year and the competition level is higher than ever before. These five athletes shone the brightest throughout 2020.
Somiong established himself as one of the Myanmar’s darling even before he joined the roster, representing the country in world-class competitions around the world. When he debuted at WLC: Battlebones, his performance exceeded even the greatest of expectations. He knocked out Cambodia’s top featherweight with the beautiful combos of kick, knee, elbow, and punch in the second round. In his second fight of the promotion, he faced a more difficult opponent, kickboxing world champion Artur Te of Uzbekistan. The war of nine limbs is considered as one of the best fights of the year and at the end of the bloody bout, Somiong proved himself again with a split decision win.
Fighting out of Kyrgyzstan, Sherzod Kabutov debuted in his very first lethwei fight at WLC: Hideout Battle. He faced experienced Myanmar fighter Nakha in a Light Welterweight contest and proved a natural in the sport. Kabutov’s spinning kicks were a thing of beauty, landing at will and keeping his opponent at distance. Kabutov’s impressive strikes earned him the unanimous decision victory and the eyes of the lethwei public.
Samuel Toscano is a high school teacher who teaches science, chemistry, and biology in Italy. He has fought for some of the world’s biggest promotions but became enamored with lethwei in a recently trip to Myanmar. He received his dream of competing in lethwei, with a debut at WLC: Battlebones and he took on Myanmar’s tough athlete, Saw Kaung Htet. During the fight, the Italian sensation proved how much he prepared for this bout and exhibited his spinning elbows and flying knees. Even though his opponent was a tough warrior of the sport, Samuel’s incredible knowledge of the sport and its techniques paid off with a decision win.
Italy’s Mariam Sabot is a seasoned veteran having won titles in almost every promotion she competed for. She debuted against Thailand youngster Petchnaree at WLC: Lethwei Showcase and presented her powerful striking, notably her weaponized elbows and proved that she is not afraid to earn a win in the lethwei ring. By winning the fight with her fearless style, Mariam Sabot left no doubts in the eyes of Myanmar traditional martial art fans that she is one to watch in the coming years.
Moroccan sensation Ayoub Elamghari debuted for the organization at WLC: Lethwei Showcase and he took on the experienced and dangerous Myanmar athlete Jay Chay. Even though his opponent was a pressure fighter, Ayoub Elamghari dodged the strikes adeptly and cleverly set him up to hit him hurt with his well-timed punches. After 15 minutes of action in which he dominated, Elamghari got the win via a decision proving that he is a prospect to watch in the exciting Bantamweight division.
The 2020 World Lethwei Awards is now open for voting. Voters stand to win limited edition merchandise as they choose their favourite stars and action from the 2020 season. Check out www.facebook.com/worldlethwei for more information