Now into year four of its existence, World Lethwei Championship
has already hosted 11 events, exclusively in its home country of Myanmar. With the growing popularity of lethwei, the company was poised to expand internationally, with its first international event originally scheduled for last month in Phnom Penh before the global COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. While the company intends to continue with closed doors events for the foreseeable future, it still has plans to continue its global expansion later this year.
United States of America
World Lethwei Championship has not hidden its desire to hold an event in the United States and have been actively working in the various athletic commissions in the various states to get lethwei legalised. Unlike most countries, combat sports in the United States is governed at state level and rules and regulations vary from each state. World Lethwei Championship’s long-term goal is to eventually build the infrastructure of lethwei in the United States and that includes getting legalized in every state!
With the appearance of UFC Veteran Seth Baczynski and rumours of Diego Sanchez being interested in signing with World Lethwei Championship before he resigned with the UFC, expect the card to feature some of the biggest names in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Outside of Myanmar, Cambodia has the next largest fanbase for World Lethwei Championship in the world, and a huge reason why World Lethwei Championship committed to making its first international expansion plan in Cambodia. The event WLC: KHMER KINGDOM was originally slated for April 12 last month, and World Lethwei Championship will immediately reschedule the event once international travel becomes convenient again.
World Lethwei Championship has already signed all of the biggest stars in Kun Khmer, Cambodia’s national martial art, including Sen Radet, Roeung Sophorn, Nou Srey Pov and Sok Rith. At least one Cambodian athlete has featured in every World Lethwei Championship card since its inception, a reflection of the organization prioritizing the cultivation of the audience in that market.
World Lethwei Championship also stated that they will go to the Far East, namely to Tokyo, Japan. Japan is one of the most interesting countries for combat sports with a rich history. It has nurtured a fervent lethwei following and lethwei fights has been held in Japan previously. Although Japan is no stranger to world-class combat sports action and with the entertainment power and incredible action featured in World Lethwei Championship, Lethwei will be more popular than ever in Japan.
We also need to include the neighbouring country of Myanmar, Thailand, where World Lethwei Championship has already announced as one of the possible future locations. Much like how Muay Thai has been a financial and cultural revelation for Thailand, lethwei can achieve the same goal and a cross-promotion with Muay Thai will be a strong reinforcement of both countries’ cultural and political partnerships.