Lethwei is such a national sport. While outsiders do succeed, it is most common to see Myanmar’s own dominate the sport. The biggest star right now is none other than Too Too. At WLC 11, Naimjon Tuhtaboyev defeated Too Too in front of his entire country, claiming the middleweight belt for his own.
Naimjon Tuhtaboyev and Lethwei
Tuhtaboyev is enamored by the sport. Being a Muay Thai fighter, Naimjon Tuhtaboyev says it was the energy that got him into the sport. “I am interested this sport because it involves great energy and power and this is for real man . These facts attracted me and now I am in this sport.”
Tuhtaboyev loves the energy brought by a sport so raw and brutal as lethwei. He also applauds the professionalism in WLC as well. “As I mentioned it involves great energy and power and it is for real professionals.”
The newly crowned champion had had his eyes on lethwei for some time. When he was presented the opportunity to fight in the sport against it’s biggest star, he leapt at the opportunity.
“I had been watching this tournament and planning to step in this big sport event. So when I was invited to participate and fight against the champion of this tournament I made decision without any hesitation and, Alhamdulillah, I won in this fight and become the champion.”
Naimjon Tuhtaboyev has big plans for his title reign. While dominating is nice, he plans are even bigger. He wants more eyes on lethwei as a sport and plans do do everything he can to build it’s popularity in not only his home country, but the world.
“In future I am going to make nation wide campaign to make this sport and tournament more popular and wanna to develop this sport.”
Naimjon Tuhtaboyev vs. Too Too
As brought up in the broadcast during their fight, Naimjon Tuhtaboyev and Too Too fought previously in 2014. Tuhtaboyev says this version of Too Too was much better of a fighter now than the one in 2014.
“I fought against Too Too in 2014 and it was not that difficult comparing to the recent fight he is professional.”
As for what’s next, Tuhtaboyev is ready to defend his title at a moment’s notice. He knows it’s a tough sport and keeping that title will not be a walk in the park. He is just waiting on the word from WLC.
“For now I am the champion of this tournament and it is not easy to keep this title and I am ready to defend this title whenever I am invited to do so.”
The Future For Naimjon
With lethwei evolving so rapidly due to it’s new exposure to the world, new techniques are being added constantly. Naimjon Tuhtaboyev remains mum on what he is adding to his already stacked arsenal. “For now it is secret,” he says with a wink.
Now Tuhtaboyev is the champion. And he looks to make his reign long and exciting. When his next fight is announced, he will assuredly be ready to give fans the show they want.
Be sure to follow Naimjon Tuhtaboyev on Instagram to stay up to date on his lethwei Journey!