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Wrestler Turned Thai Boxer

Posted July. 07, 2007 03:04,   


Kim Young-hyun (31) was soaked with sweat. He drank water very often. He typically sweats a lot.

However, he was powerful. He broke the ribs of his sparring partner, who is his colleague from the same gymnasium, with his right hand punch.

Kim was once a champion of ssireum, a Korean-style of wrestling. He is going to leave for Thailand to train as a Muay Thai boxer around the middle of this month. At 217cm tall and 147kg, he is looking for a sparring partner who is at least 190cm high and 100kg heavy. He will go anywhere to have a match even if it is held at a small countryside gym.

Broke Partner’s Ribs with Innate Power-

Kim started training at a Muay Thai gym in Shillim-dong three month ago. He had his first official sparring match as a K-1 fighter on June 28. Kickboxing heavyweight champion Kim Nae-cheol (22, Anseong Seolbong), his sparring partner, said, “I might have died if I had been hit with full force.”

Kim said, “The low kicks were very painful. But I will endure more in future matches.” Some fighters have given up because they could not endure the low kicks.

Kim has strong shin bones. Kim Jeong-ki, an Oriental medicine clinic head, said, “Kim has a strong lower body in his physical constitution according to Oriental philosophy. His bone density is excellent. The age of his bones is younger, about 28 years old.” After finishing three rounds, Kim wanted more, saying, “I didn’t use all the techniques I have learned.” Gong Seon-taek (33), gym director and coach, said, “I will be all-in for Kim.”

Expected to be as Sensational as Choi-

With his plan to enter the world of K-1, Kim is raising the bar in terms of expectations. He is of similar build to Choi Hong-man (27), who is 218 cm tall and has made a sensational debut onto the K-1 scene. Kim was ahead of Choi, 8-5, at ssireum. Kim was the champion three times, while Choi won the title once. Thus, Kim is expected to be as sensational as Choi on the K-1 stage. However, he needs to further learn the kicking and punching techniques.

Kim was lying low while Choi was in the limelight of the K-1 world. He had no place to go after his team disbanded in 2005.

He said, “I wanted to play ssireum a few more years. But there was no ssireum team when I wanted to go back. I had been playing ssireum so long that I wanted to be a ssireum player till the end.”

One day, he walked into a Muay Thai gym. “I was still young and couldn’t kill time doing nothing at home. I wanted something nice to finish my sports life.”