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Shootfighter Will Throw Opening Pitch

Posted June. 02, 2006 04:27,   


Choi Hong-man, the “Techno Goliath,” will get on a mound instead of into a ring. The K-1 fighter is scheduled to open a baseball game with a pitch. The June 11 match at Chiba Marine Stadium will also feature Korean-born slugger Lee Seung-yup on the Yomiuri side facing his previous team, Lotte. Sports Hochi, a Japanese sports interest publication, reports that Yomiuri’s Lee Seung-yup will get a powerful reinforcement from Choi.

Lee, who had been booed severely by his former home crowd of Lotte at Yomiuri’s stadium last week, will gain strength when he has a 218cm tall, 158kg giant behind his back rooting for him. The Lotte fans’ hate toward the slugger that deserted them will be displayed strongly as the match is scheduled on Lotte’s home ground.

“I have known Choi for some time through my agent. I would very much like to hang out with him when he comes to the game,” said Lee. Choi was booked for the opening pitch while he was in Japan shooting a Lotte ice cream commercial.

Choi’s first opening pitch was at a Hyundai versus Kia match in Korea on last year’s Children’s Day. Unable to find gloves that fit his hands, he clutched his gloves instead of wearing them. After throwing a one bound pitch that missed the target completely, Choi flopped down on the ground and made a face of despair. Standing taller than the tallest U.S. major league player John Roche (211cm), Choi is expected to redeem himself with his upcoming opening pitch chance.

Choi is scheduled to fight world champion Semmy Schilt in the K-1 Asia Grand Prix on June 3 at Seoul’s Jamsil Stadium.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com