Martial arts company WLC looking to tap into Philippine talent
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has always been a haven of fighters from boxing to wushu to mixed martial arts with names such as Manny Pacquiao, Eduard Folayang, Jerwin Ancajas, and Joshua Pacio all becoming elite World champions in their respective fields.
This wealth of talent was what pushed World Lethwei Championship president Gerald Ng to look into the Philippines as the start of the 12-city itinerary for the 2020-21 season.
“We have interest from major cities all over the world to host events there. We are working through the calendar, but we definitely want to add the Philippines to that list,” said Ng. “We are looking at the best athletes in the world, and there are several Filipinos in the mix.”
“It is the kind of destination event that would get thousands of people from the country and beyond to travel to, and hosting such an event in the Philippines will generate a new level of interest in Lethwei that will be unprecedented.”
Lethwei is a full-contact martial art from Myanmar and is referred to as “The Art of Nine Limbs” where athletes can use practically any kind of offense including head-butts, punches, elbows, knees, kicks, clinching, sweeps, and throws to win a match that takes place over three to five rounds.
Instead of gloves, fighters only have tape and gauze to protect their hands.
The WLC had its first season in 2017 and has since held 11 sold-out events across Myanmar with Filipino-Australian sensation Michael Badato and Canadian star Dave Leduc leading the promotion’s roster.
Ng is yet to name any fighters that he wants to be part of his promotion but he promised that these personalities have the capabilities to become marquee draws in the world of combat sport.
“All of them would have been incredible in Lethwei and that is the future of combat sports where we will bring champions from other disciplines to Lethwei to compete under one umbrella,” said Ng.