Thiago Teixeira recently renounced Muay Thai and proclaimed himself a proud representative of Kun Khmer. The rewards for the previously unknown Brazilian fighter appear to have been immense.

He was handed $20,000 USD by the prime minister’s office, although Hun Sen stopped short of making the presentation in person. It would take the average Cambodian around six years to earn that much money.

He has also been offered Cambodian citizenship according to the Phnom Penh Post.

Tattoo removal

The newspaper reports that Teixeira has promised to have the Muay Thai tattoo removed from his back,

I didn’t understand the meaning of my Muay Thai tattoo when I got it, as I was just 16 years old when it was done. I have considered removing it in the past now I will definitely have it erased from my back.

For many years Teixeira lived and fought in Thailand but he was not well known. His biggest fight came in 2019 when he was given the opportunity to fight Chanajon PKSaenchaigym on a Thai Fight card, the Brazilian lost by decision.

Good timing

Teixeira’s main claim to fame appears to be last weekend’s win over Joe Craven in front of a handful of fans in Germany. But he made headlines all over the world when the WMO announced in the aftermath of the fight that the Brazilian was being stripped of the belt.

Teixeira upset the governing body by posing with a Cambodian flag and extolling the virtues of Kun Khmer in the aftermath of the fight. He timed the comments perfectly because there is already a dispute flaring between the two countries.

Cambodia is hosting the upcoming SEA Games and has courted controversy by changing the name of the competition from Muay Thai to Kun Khmer. Thailand initially announced it would not be participating, although it isn’t clear if the country will follow through with this threat.

While Muay Thai is world renowned very few people outside of Cambodia know about Kun Khmer. So be shining a light on this little known sport Teixeira has made himself a popular figure in his adopted home.