Souris Manfredi is arguably the biggest female star in lethwei, having made her presence known in the fighting community with two convincing victories. On August 28, she has a chance to etch her name in history by becoming the first female lethwei world champion at WLC: Hideout Battle, which marks the World Lethwei Championship’s return to action, following the stoppage caused by COVID-19 pandemic. For Manfredi, she is fighting to represent female combat sports athletes in the quest for equality.
Manfredi hopes her representation as a champion in the world’s truest striking art of lethwei will encourage greater promotion of female combat sports athletes and greater representation in sports. Manfredi has been focusing on Muay Thai prior to the transition to lethwei, and have felt disillusioned at some of the gender policies governing female Muay Thai contests.
An example Manfredi brought up on her social media feed featured a suggestion in a recent federation meeting in Muay Thai to enforce elbow pads for female athletes to protect their appearances, a statement that drew flak from the combat sports community.
So far, she has been encouraged about the steps taken by World Lethwei Championship to promote female athletes and is excited at the chance to represent lethwei on the global stage.
Last year World Lethwei Championship introduced a new policy that mandates at least one female lethwei contest for every event, and proceeded to sign some of the world’s top female combat sports athletes, including Manfredi.
After two victories, including becoming the first woman to earn a knockout in WLC, she is close to achieving her dreams with a date against Spain’s Maisha Katz on August 28 to determine the first female world lethwei champion.
WLC: Hideout Battle airs on August 28 at 6:30pm Myanmar time (5am Pacific Time, 8am Eastern Time, 1pm London Time). The fight fans can watch the event live on UFC Fight Pass, Canal+ and other broadcast partners across 100 countries.