Cambodia bestows citizenship to Brazilian boxer and Polish wife

Photo via Khmer Times

The King of Cambodia bestowed citizenship to Brazilian kickboxer Thiago Teixeira for sticking up for the Khmers in the recent origins of Muay Thai dispute between Thailand and Cambodia. His Polish wife was also granted citizenship.

The royal ceremony follows the World Muaythai Organisation’s (WMO) decision to ban the 30 year old mixed martiaul arts fighter Thiago Teixeira from competing. His Apex Fight Series middleweight championship record was also expunged.

Thiago Teixeira, who boasts a “Muay Thai” tattoo on his back, is not a popular man in Thailand after he announced support for Kun Khmer in a recent row about the origins of the sport.

Cambodia caused a stir by removing Muay Thai from its list of sports in the upcoming SEA games and replacing it with “Kun Khmer,” claiming that the true origin of Muay Thai is Cambodian. The decision resulted in Thai athletes withdrawing from the competition.

Not only that, but the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) announced that any country participating in Kun Khmer would be banned from joining major events such as the World Games, Asian Indoor Games, Asian Martial Arts Games, and World Boxing Championship.

Tensions heightened when Teixeria changed his Facebook name to Thiago Teixeira Kun Khmer and announced his love of the Cambodian version of the sport.

Teixeira also changed his Facebook account from thiago.muaythai to Thiago Teixeira Brazilian Fighter Khmer Heart and announced that he would join the next competition in the Cambodian style.

Earlier on April 1, Teixeira beat English boxer Joe Craven in a fight in Germany and celebrated by waiving a Cambodian flag, prompting the WMO to ban him from future competitions held by the organisation.

The WMO said…

“After a thorough review of his actions both before and after the fight, we found his behaviour to bring the sport of Muay Thai into disrepute. His actions were politically motivated and fundamentally unsportsmanlike aimed at degrading the national sport of Thailand and inciting hate.”

On April 11, Teixeira was granted Cambodian citizenship by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni. The King also granted citizenship to the boxer’s wife Roma Rozanksa-Steffen of Polish nationality.

The Khmer Boxing Federation announced…

“I would like to publicly announce that the official Khmer name of Thiago is ‘Sen Chanrithy Kun.'”

After obtaining his Cambodian name and citizenship, Teixeria thanked the King and the government of Cambodia, reports the Khmer Times

“This means a lot to me for believing in me as an athlete and as an ambassador to Cambodia. Thank you for believing in me.”

World News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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