Cambodian-American athlete Sovannahry Em could not have had a more perfect end to 2018, and now she looks to keep that momentum going in the new year.
The 26-year-old took on mixed martial arts veteran Iryna “Delsa” Kyselova at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last month, and she needed a mere 81 seconds to kick off her career in ONE Championship with a highlight-reel victory.
With a hugely positive debut in The Home Of Martial Arts, the California-based Em remains undefeated. All three of her career wins come by first-round knockout.
Sovannahry Em took no damage in the last fight
Fresh off the holiday season, Em is now pondering the next step in her career.
“I just got back from the mountain, so I’m looking forward to training again full-time,” she says. “I’ve been on full vacation mode — enjoying myself without stressing.”
A self-proclaimed shy girl, Em did not exhibit any of those characteristics when she stepped into the ONE cage for the first time.
The Cambodian-American executed a game plan that she and her head trainer, Justen Hamilton from Fight Science MMA in Los Angeles, had put together, which showcased both her stand-up skills and grappling acumen.
A little more than a minute into the contest, Em ended up in full mount and took home the victory without taking any damage herself.
That has opened up the possibility of a quick return to the ONE cage.
“We were at first thinking that the soonest we could get a fight would be in April, but it sounded like ONE might be proposing something in February,” she explains. “I came off the last one healthy, so February would be perfect.”
The world’s largest martial arts organization has already announced a record-setting 45-event schedule for 2019, and it is slated to explore new territories like Japan and South Korea.
Unfortunately, The Home Of Martial Arts will not be heading back to Cambodia in 2019 as Em had hoped for, but there is no lack of exciting countries for the unbeaten flyweight to compete in.
“I would love to see the Philippines, and Singapore would be amazing,” she says. “There’s a lot of places. All of them would be amazing.”
Even though ONE will not be visiting “The Kingdom Of Wonder,” Em still hopes to visit Cambodia and re-discover her Khmer roots.
Born in Long Beach, California, she is stern in her decision to make her way to Cambodia and reconnect with her native country.
Without any official bout scheduled, the emerging flyweight star plans to keep busy and make her way to the nation as soon as possible — this time, through an alliance with Chan Rothana and his trainer Lorenzo Lanzafame.
“They were so incredibly sweet, and during this last trip to Malaysia we made a lot of friends, like Lorenzo and Rothana,” she explains.
Also in 2019, Em hopes to compete more than she ever has in her professional career, representing “The Kingdom Of Wonder” and establishing herself as a future top contender in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“I would love at least three fights this year,” she states. “We’ll see what ONE can give me.”