This story is one of many that form the inspiration for Fight for Cambodia.
Chan Heng Targets ONE Resurgence
Khmer Times/Ismail Vorajee
Cambodian mixed martial arts star Chan Heng is on the road for redemption in his ONE Championship return at ONE: Kingdom of Khmer at Koh Pich Theatre on December 5 and targets a victory against Mario Satya Wirawan to help him become a permanent fixture on international fightcards.
Having participated in last year’s ONE: Rise of the Kingdom showpiece, Heng will hope for a better outcome this year after last year’s defeat to compatriot Meas Meu. Meu impressively submitted the bigger and taller Chan Heng in the first round, winning by rear naked choke. Meu had landed an overhand right moments into the fight and shot for the takedown. He went to work on Heng with a series of elbows that opened up a cut on Heng’s face, turning the canvas into a bloody mess. Meu then transitioned to take Heng’s back and secured the submission.
Heng, like most Khmer fighters, comes from humble beginnings and only took up fighting in an effort to provide for his family. “What motivates me the most is trying to make enough money to support my family. So I will keep fighting and waiting patiently like every other fighter until I get one shot on an international stage; something that would possibly change my family’s life,” Heng said. “For now, I am very grateful to be given a chance to fight with ONE Championship. It has allowed me more opportunities to grow as a fighter and make it bigger on the international scene.”
Heng credits the belief of his family in helping him reach his goals. “My wife and two daughters support me during my fights because it is one of the only ways I am able to provide for my family,” he said.
“Heng and his family are very poor and at times, he forgoes eating for himself just to make sure his wife and kids have enough,” said Cambodian Top Team head trainer Chan Reach.
Although Heng has little else as a source of income except for fighting, he also occasionally works as a handy man. “He can fix anything. He doesn’t have a particular job but he always does some side work such as being an electrician, a plumber, a construction worker, or motor taxi, depending on what he can find each day. If he doesn’t find some type of work each day then it means he won’t have money to eat,” his coach added.
However, the devoted family man said his main inspiration will always be his family. “I have two daughters and I want them to live a good life without struggling like I do on a daily basis.”
Heng is looking for redemption and wants to show fans he has what it takes to be a force in his division. His opponent in this year’s event is Indonesian Mario Satya Wirawan.
Wirawan, a former university football player, developed a passion for combat just a few years ago. Since then, he’s impressed crowds by showcasing his lightning quick strikes and ferocious combinations. With a newfound love for MMA, Wirawan is looking for his first victory in ONE Championship. Wirawan trains at Bali Muaythai & MMA camp and lost his previous fight against Sunoto via decision but is determined to come back stronger.
“I am very excited to be back in the ONE Championship cage. I was very upset I lost my last fight but I’ve trained harder and worked on my weaknesses and so I can’t wait to come back stronger in ONE: Kingdom of Khmer,” he said.