Just How Good Is Dave Leduc?
This is a question that all of Myanmar knows the answer to and the rest of the world is learning. Dave Leduc is the best in the world at what he does. He is the King of Lethwei and is the most important asset that the World Lethwei Championship has. But how good is he, really? The answer to that is simple: Leduc is a once in a lifetime talent in the sport of Lethwei.
There are many factors that put Dave in a league of his own. With the help of Sifu Patrick Marcil, his abilities inside the ring have been tested in 12 professional Lethwei fights, having never suffered defeat. He has the ideal body for a Lethwei fighter. The style in which he attacks and his instincts inside the ring is very hard to defend against. And finally, the way he is able to market himself and the sport of Lethwei is truly impressive.
Let’s take a more detailed look at what makes Dave Leduc the unquestioned King of Lethwei.
Leduc Has Never Been Defeated
Leduc has yet to suffer a defeat in Lethwei action, with a record of six wins, zero losses, and six draws. He has fought in 12 professional Lethwei fights and still maintains the zero in his loss column. That is impressive stuff, especially when you consider the level of competition he has faced. Fighting at his walking around weight of 175 pounds, Dave often fights heavier opponents, never backing down from a worthy challenger.
Dave has gone against some of the best the sport has to offer already in his career. His first career Lethwei fight was in 2016 against an undefeated Too Too, who had 34 wins under his belt. Dave quickly earned the love of Myanmar with his performance inside the ring against Too Too.
He wrapped up 2016 with his second and third professional Lethwei bouts, both against the legendary Tun Tun Min. The first fight resulted in a draw, but Dave impressed enough to earn a second fight just two months later, this time for the Openweight Lethwei Golden Belt! Dave put together a very impressive performance and stopped Tun Tun Min in the third round, winning the Golden Belt. In winning the Golden Belt, Dave became the first, and only, non-Burmese fighter to accomplish that honor. And the championships didn’t stop there.
Dave would then travel to Japan to fight for the International Lethwei Federation Japan organization. He defended his title for the first time against Phoe Kay, winning by KO in just the second round. His second fight in Japan was against Adem Yilmaz, which resulted in the third draw of Dave’s career and second title defense. Dave dislocated his finger in the second round of the fight but managed to tough it out for the draw. Dave impressed the fans watching with his toughness and ability to keep landing strikes after the injury.
Next, Dave faced 2-times MuayThai World Champion Nilmungkorn Sudsakorngym for the ILFJ Openweight World Championship. Dave absolutely decimated Nilmungkorn, winning by KO in the second round of a fight he dominated, marking his third title defense. Dave then returned to Myanmar for his first of two fights with 3-time MuayThai World Champion Cyrus Washington. In what has been a common theme throughout Dave’s career, he completely outclassed his opponent. However, Washington was strong enough to survive Dave’s onslaught, and the fight ended in a draw for his fourth title defense.
Dave followed that up with his fifth successful title defense, this time against heavyweight kickboxer and 91kg WKN World Champion Corentin Jallon. Once again, Dave dominated the action but still could not get the stoppage. He then was able to get back into the win column after destroying former Rajadamnern Stadium, WPMF, and IKF Champion Diesellek TopKingBoxing, who holds a massive KO win over Youssef Boughamen and a decision win over Samy Sana. Dave knocked Diesellek out twice in the first round. In doing so, he won the Openweight Myanmar Lethwei World Championship Title and had his sixth straight title defense. His next fight was a trilogy fight against Tun Tun Min, which resulted in another draw for his seventh title defense. Dave was able to knockout Tun Tun Min once in the first round, but Tun Tun Min was able to recover and managed to survive the rest of the fight.
His next fight was against 6’3″ UFC veteran Seth Baczynski for the inaugural WLC Cruiserweight World Championship. Dave found himself fighting a much heavier opponent, going up a weight class to fight Seth. On fight day, Seth weighed about 20 pounds heavier than Dave, but it made no difference. Dave came out and dominated Baczynski, winning by knockout in the second round of the fight. This was his fifth championship belt and eight title defense, but he wasn’t done there. Dave had his eyes set on making more history.
On November 7th, 2020, Dave faced Cyrus Washington for the second time. This time it was in the first-ever Lethwei World Championship fight to be held in the United States. With his Golden Belt up for grabs, Dave and Cyrus also competed for Sparta Sports & Entertainment’s inaugural Sparta World Lethwei Championship. Cyrus had a big size advantage, weighing close to 15 pounds heavier than Dave on fight day, but that didn’t matter. Dave landed an overhand right early in the fight that affected the vision of Washington and set the tone for the rest of the fight. Dave would continue to overwhelm Cyrus with an array of strikes, ultimately resulting in the ref stopping the fight a few rounds later. This fight gave Dave his ninth straight title defense.
One thing that stands out if you’ve watched Dave compete in any of these bouts is how perfect his build is for the way he fights.
Dave has the perfect body type for fighting in Lethwei. At 6’2″, Dave is tall, lean, and full of muscle. He has long arms and legs, with sharp elbows and knees. His head is solid, which is great for those Lethwei headbutts. His hands and knuckles are huge, which is perfect for bare-knuckle action. Simply put, his body was made for Lethwei. Not to mention, it goes wonderfully with his style of fighting.
Style and Instinct
Dave’s flowing style is perfect for a striking sport like Lethwei. Watching Dave fight is like witnessing an artist paint or a dancer put on a performance. He moves around the ring with ease, backing his opponents down and forcing them to fight his fight. He is always analyzing his opponent and making adjustments during the fight. Dave can snap kicks with his lead leg with such quickness that he will use that lead leg movement to set up punching combinations as well. And the variety of strikes he will throw in some of those combinations is impressive.
Once Dave smells blood, you can see the determination to end the fight in his eyes. He will continue attacking until the ref stops the fight or the final bell rings. Possessing finishing instincts like that is a massive benefit for Dave. These benefits are not only in the ring, as a spectacular knockout is a lot more marketable than a fight ending in a draw. And Dave is very good at marketing.
Dave’s ability to market himself and the sport of Lethwei is second to none. He is constantly putting out content on his social media and promoting the sport of Lethwei everywhere he goes. His determination to bring Lethwei to the upper echelons of combat sports helps drive him to be the best fighter he can be. And this shows inside the ring. Dave is always looking to entertain the fans and truly loves the violence of Lethwei.
Dave understands that most combat sports fans want bloody fights and vicious knockouts. And he tries to give fans what they want every time he steps into the ring. That kind of attitude is perfect for the business that he is in and will continue to take him, and Lethwei, to places he never thought they’d go.
What Could Be Next for Dave Leduc?
In today’s climate, you never know what could happen next for a superstar like Leduc. He could end up being cleared to return to Myanmar to defend his World Lethwei Championship Cruiserweight Title. He could be back in the US, defending his newly won Sparta Lethwei Championship. Or, he could end up fighting somewhere that he’s never fought before. If Dave has anything to say about it, his next fight will be in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Is Fighting in Vegas Possible?
Lethwei does not have an easy path to legality in Nevada. Bare-knuckle boxing still isn’t legal in the state, so adding headbutts to that equation would likely make the commission shy away even more. However, crazier things have happened. For instance, Dave himself never thought he’d be fighting on American soil in the first place. Now that he’s checked that feat off his list, he has his eyes set on accomplishing so much more.
What do you think Dave should do next? Drop who and where you would like to see him fight in the comments below!