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“Becoming a world champion is my next goal”

Posted May. 12, 2005 23:32,   


The nation’s first father and daughter championship pair is now dreaming a bigger dream.

Woo Ji-hye (18) has become the first Korean champion after winning 3-0 to Kim Tae-seon (29) in the KBC women super featherweight class championship final held last Friday at Jangchung Stadium. She is the eldest daughter of Woo Dong-gu (43), nicknamed “bulldozer,” who was a Korean junior lightweight champion during his time.

The Woo family is the first in Korea where a father and a daughter have worn a boxing championship belt. Worldwide, American boxing hero Muhammad Ali and Lila Ali, who is the current WIBA super middle class champion, is a father and daughter championship pair.

Woo’s father is the director and her mother, Sohn Hyun-sook (41), acts as the coach. Sohn, who follows her husband to boxing games and analyses videos, is a boxing expert who can give technical advice.

Woo first put on her gloves when she was in second grade of high school. Woo, who learned taekwondo since primary school, was encouraged by her father to take up boxing. The father concluded after analysing his daughter that she had a better chance of becoming a boxing world champion rather than a taekwondo Olympic gold medallist.

Woo, who debuted last July after a pro test in March, like a champion’s daughter, won all three of her matches, became a champion, and decided on her lifetime goal.

“Before, I was in doubt whether boxing was the way to go. However, after becoming Korean champion, I am sure now. My goal now is to become a world champion.”

Woo, who runs a boxing gym, worked as his daughter’s sparring partner everyday. By asking his daughter to hit him, he tests her strength and corrects her pose. He harshly trains his daughter by asking her to run to a nearby hill two times and do 3,000 skips on a skipping rope.

However, Woo Ji-hye now knows her father’s mind. “We can communicate better than when learning from somebody else, and it is good that he teaches me even the tiniest things.”

On the other hand, Ji-hye’s brother, Woo Byung-joon (17), is training for a pro boxing career.

The family is training for another world championship.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com