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Another Korean Fever in Japan’s K-1 League?

Posted December. 20, 2004 23:14,   


As an “ex-champion of ssireum,” traditional Korean wrestling, Choi Hong-mahn is set to debut in Japan as a K-1 fighter, and other judo champions such as Kim Min-soo and Yoon Dong-sik are showing interest in the Japanese K-1 league.

Kim Min-soo (29), who is a trainer at the Korea Racing Association, was a silver medalist in men’s judo 95kg category at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. He said, “I am negotiating with Danaka Sadaharu, the head of FEG which administers Japan’s K-1 league. If we can agree to terms on a contract, I will sign it.”

In the K-1 league, fighters usually attack horizontally, and Kim Min-soo plans to participate in MMA, in which choking and snapping are allowed. Kim stands 186cm tall and weighs 110kg. He said, “The authorities from Pride FC, one of the most famous sports in MMA, and the legendary professional wrestler, Antonio Inoki, asked me to join them. But I am more attracted to K-1’s MMA.” Kim is brushing up on his hitting techniques, including boxing, in preparation for his debut in the Japanese K-1 league.

Yoon Dong-shik (32, a KRA trainer) is capable of attacking opponents with any of various positions. Therefore, he is likely to move to Pride FC, in which judo players can have technical advantages over other fighters. Yoon will go to Saitama, Japan at the end of this month to watch the Pride FC Shockwave event. He said, “I will stay there for about a week, and I plan to talk to Pride FC officials in detail about the terms of my transfer.” As a player, Yoon was famous for his choking and snapping and will call for at least the same treatment offered to Choi Hong-mahn.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com