“It’s huge for me. To be honest, I don’t really know how to react. I can’t wait,” Em says about her upcoming visit to Cambodia.
The quick stop to Phnom Penh will be one of many firsts for the California based Cambodian American that goes by the nickname “Savage Buddha.”
“I thought I was going straight to Malaysia, and I was excited already about that, but to have the opportunity to stop by Cambodia first… It is pretty exciting.”
Being born in Long Beach and raised in Pomona, California, Em grew up in proximity to Khmer traditions:
“I grew up around Cambodian [culture], the Buddhist traditions, going to the temples, and celebrating Cambodian New Year. And I even spoke Khmer when I was a child, but after a while, I kind of grew apart from it.”
Competing in Asia’s largest martial arts organization has not only given her a unique opportunity as a professional competitor, but it has also sparked a desire to reconnect with her heritage.
“I figured that it would be a great opportunity for me to connect with my Cambodian roots,” she shares about signing with ONE Championship. “My boyfriend is Italian, so I’ve gotten a lot into Italian culture. That kind of gave me my curiosity to go back to my Cambodian culture, to be curious and learn about that again.”
Even though ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS will mark Em’s third professional bout, she’s facing the very tough Ukrainian talent Iryna Kyselova that has six times her experience in the cage.
Training out of Fight Science in Los Angeles, Em comes fully prepared to show the world what she has been working on since her last bout. Not only is her upcoming debut an opportunity to skyrocket her career, but Em is also hoping it might be the first step towards competing in “The Kingdom of Wonder” someday.
“Eventually, I would love for ONE to hold a show out in Cambodia so I can fight out there,” she says. “I look forward to seeing how far we can go with ONE.”