Personal trainer Lorenzo Lanzafame was only supposed to stay in Cambodia for a couple of months. Now, four years later, he finds himself deeply involved in the country’s development, both on a personal level and as the head of LLFitness.
“I came here for a holiday [for] three months, and I saw big potential,” Lanzafame says about his initial visit to Cambodia. “I decided to stay here to help people.”
When the Italian first arrived, he felt that he could contribute to “The Kingdom of Wonder’s” growth in martial arts, and like many others, he viewed Cambodia as a country with enormous capability.
He is now one of many foreigners who is investing their life’s work into a nation that has welcomed him with open arms.
“It’s a passion. Even if there’s no money at all, there’s great potential,” he says.
“If you combine Cambodia’s potential with the right kind of workout, then the results will be very, very great.”
For the last couple of years, he has teamed up with Kun Khmer expert Chan Rothana in Phnom Penh, and together, they have had the opportunity to benefit from each other’s expertise.
Lanzafame draws knowledge from both his native Italy and England, where he studied at the well-renowned YMCA Academy, while Rothana from his experiences as a respected martial arts star in the country’s capital.
They have helped spread the word of Cambodian martial arts by competing for ONE in places like the Philippines, China, and, most recently, Malaysia.
On Friday, 9 December, Rothana finished previously undefeated newcomer Abro “The Black Komodo” Fernandes at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS.
The LLFitness founder cornered the Cambodian flyweight as the scheduled three-round bout unfolded inside Kuala Lumpur’s Axiata Arena.
It proved to be one of Rothana’s most spectacular victories to date. Both warriors stepped on the gas pedal and entertained with a back-and-forth barnburner, which ultimately ended with a thunderous knee and ground punches from the Kun Khmer specialist.
Rothana’s return to competition in the world’s largest martial arts organization proved successful, but Lanzafame had already predicted a highlight-reel stoppage win from the talented Cambodian.
The Italian has witnessed Rothana’s martial arts evolution firsthand, as well as the Khmer spirit of the nation’s warriors. Needless to say, Lanzafame is very excited about what the future has to offer for the country’s local talents.
“They are hungry. They want it – that’s it,” he states.
“There are no excuses for them. They give everything. They are ready to go. They are machines!”