Lethwei has been one of the fastest growing combat sports in the past few years, spearheaded by industry leader World Lethwei Championship (WLC).
Every sport has its stars. Those stars is the biggest driving force of their respective field.
In World Lethwei Championship, there are hundreds of world-class athletes. Among them – here are the five biggest names of the largest bare-knuckle fighting organization on the Planet.
5. Thway Thit Win Hlaing
Thway Thit Win Hlaing is probably the superstar with the most momentum in Myanmar at the moment. He has the most wins of any undefeated athlete in World Lethwei Championship and have blossomed in the WLC ring from a fledgling athlete to the king of the ring. He started his fighting career at the age of 7, and is now considered one of the best fighters at 71 kg.
Thway Thit Win Hlaing is a reserved person and it translates in his fights. He is always calm and methodical when striking and countering. He studies the opponent’s game plan and then proceeds to dissect it. He is expected to get the next title opportunity for the WLC light middleweight crown against the current champion who is also on this list.
4. Antonio Faria
Antonio Faria is the undisputed World Lethwei champion in the light welterweight division. He is a crowd favourite with his ferocious strikes. In his lethwei debut against Mite Yine, the pair put on one of the greatest fights ever. It went viral with over 20 million views.
His footwork is world-class, and he evenly distributes his strikes all over the body of his opponent. Faria can mix up the fight tempo with timely elbows, punches, and knees. He has some of the fastest strikes you will ever see in combat sports. All that has helped him go undefeated in lethwei and win a prestigious title.
The champion was originally scheduled to defend his title for the first time in April, but the current global pandemic has pushed the event back. Nonetheless, Faria is one of the must-watch athletes in lethwei.
3. Sasha Moisa
Sasha Moisa was the winning competitor in 2019’s “Fight of the Year” when he earned the light middleweight title from incumbent champion Artur Saladiak. That bout cemented Moisa’s legacy as one of the greatest lethwei fighters of all time.
Moisa became the pride of Odessa, Ukraine when he became a new World Lethwei champion. The world championship in this division is the equivalent of the heavyweight champion in boxing because this is where the best talents are found. What sets Moisa apart as one of the greatest of all time is his pinpoint accuracy. His strikes are dedicated to their purpose – when he strikes, it almost always lands.
As the current world titleholder in WLC, Moisa has even been challenged by champions from other sports. It will be exciting to see who his next mega-fight will be against.
2. Too Too
Too Too is the original People’s Champion in the world of lethwei. He is the biggest sports star in Myanmar and gets mobbed when he walks on the street.
He is one of the decorated lethwei fighters of all time. He has won almost everything there is to win in the sport, including the WLC belt in the middleweight class.
Famous for his low kicks and his fearsome punches, Too Too became a fan favourite early in his career and grew into the megastar he is today. His bouts with Dave Leduc (featured later) are stuff of legend that people will be telling their grandchildren decades from now.
Just to put into perspective the scale of his popularity, over 500 Harley Davidson riders in Myanmar escorted him for his first title defense in 2018, while fans cheered from the street. In his last title defense earlier this year, a limousine entourage was sent to pick him up.
1. Dave Leduc
Dave Leduc is the Muhammad Ali of lethwei. When the annals of lethwei history are written, Leduc’s name will be top of the list.
He broke the barrier by becoming the first foreign champion in lethwei, and dedicated himself to growing the sport globally. Today, Leduc and WLC have grew the sport to dozens of lethwei gyms across the world.
His fights with Too Too were monumental for the whole country in Myanmar. More than 40 million tuned in to watch those fights while the country stopped moving. He also competed in another mega fight when he took on Seth Baczynski, the first crossover fighter from Ultimate Fighting Championship (fight video here).
Leduc’s selfless work in growing the sport of lethwei, promoting it everywhere, including on The Joe Rogan Experience, the world’s biggest podcast, has helped lethwei become one of the fastest growing sports in the world today.