Nou Srey Pov’s ONE Championship debut earlier this month was unforgettable.
The 24-year-old was under pressure when she entered the Impact Arena in her opponent’s hometown of Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, 16 February, but she rose to the occasion to thrill fans watching back in her native land.
Nou Srey Pov’s striking proves too much for Rika Ishige as the Kun Khmer World Champion claims a unanimous decision win in her ONE debut!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, February 16, 2019
While Nou waited in the ring, Ishige – whose bouts in The Home Of Martial Arts always attract plenty of attention thanks to her huge fanbase – danced her way down the ramp to cheers from her Thai faithful.
However, the Kun Khmer World Champion was focused on the job at hand. Some athletes suffer from nerves ahead of their big debuts under the lights, but Nou was consumed by another sensation – excitement.
“As soon as the bell rang, my heart was pounding with excitement,” she admits.
“I thought to myself, ‘I will show everything that I have learned during this preparation, and I will put on a great show.’”
Though the Cambodian Top Team representative is an experienced competitor, this was her debut mixed martial arts performance, and it will live long in the memory.
She outworked, overpowered, and outpointed the popular Ishige from the first minute. As soon as she dropped “Tinydoll” with a big right hand, she was on her way to getting her hand raised.
“I knew already in the first round that I had the upper hand,” she admits.
“I was able to land powerful attacks, but I was still very cautious.”
Nou stuffed Ishige’s takedown attempts and dominated the stand-up exchanges throughout. She landed blows with greater power, accuracy, and frequency than the Thai, who had no answer to such a superior striking arsenal.
The Cambodian was quick to credit the work of her head coach Chan Reach and former ONE star-turned-coach Nicholas “JJ” Lee for her success.
“My coaches told me the way I had to fight to win,” she explains.
“They told me to keep up with my striking and continue with the low kicks to avoid Rika’s takedowns.”
Nou’s domination secured her a unanimous decision victory and marked her out as one of the prospects to keep a close eye on this year in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
As she prepares to step back under the lights in 2019, she hopes to repay the faith shown in her by her fans back home by putting on some more performances they can be proud of.
“I am very thankful for all the support I have received from Cambodia,” she adds.