In recent year's Korean boxing has been a mess, with political wrangling and ego's preventing the once excellent Korean boxing scene from being what it could be. For many newer fans they may never have even seen a Korean world champion. The latest of those was more than a decade ago, when legendary tough guy In Jin Chi had his second world title reign.
Whilst fans of the sport perhaps are aware of Chi, and his fights against the likes of Erik Morales and Michael Brodie, there are lots that is unknown about Chi. With that in mind we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...In Jin Chi.
1-Chi first began boxing in first grade, and made his debut as a teenager due to the fact he needed to make money.
2-Chi, like Bernard Hopkins, Alexis Arguello, Rafael Marquez, Kohei Kono and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, lost on his debut before later going on to win a world title. Chi's debut loss was a decision to fellow debutant Tae Sun Park in 1991, in what is Park's only recorded bout. According to reports in Korea he was actually dropped twice in this bout.
3-Aside from his debut loss, the only other marks on his record came at world level. These were his 2001 loss to Erik Morales, his 2003 draw with Michael Brodie and his 2006 loss to Takashi Koshimoto. All 3 of these results occurred outside of Korea.
4-Chi reportedly kept the equivalent of $10,000 from his bout with Rodolfo Lopez, with his team taking around the same from him. This later lead to him describing his career as being like that of a "modern slave" before he retired.
5-Staying on the subject of money, which was an issue throughout Chi's career, he was working part time when he was a Korean champion and worked on a construction site in the mid 1990's, after winning the OPBF title. Sadly Chi never got to defend the OPBF Bantamweight title and cash in on that success.
6-When Chi regained the WBC Featherweight title, with his win over Lopez, he dedicated his win to his daughter. At the time he had one daughter and one son.
7-In 2004 there was talk in the Korean press of Chi facing Juan Manuel Marquez, in what would have been an IBF/WBA/WBC Featherweight unification bout. Donga.com reported that there could be up to $500,000 as a purse for Chi for that bout. Sadly for Chi that bout never came off.
8-At the time of writing Chi is the last Korean male world champion, last holding a title more than a decade ago. He has however been followed by several female world champions, including Hyun Mi Choi who won her first world title on her debut.
9-After finishing his boxing career Chi turned to K-1 and beat Ryuji Kajiwara in his kickboxing debut in Japan.
10- Following the end of his combat sport career Chi has gone on to run a boxing club, and still plays a role in Korean boxing, though obviously the sport is a long, long way from where it once was in the country. His club was responsible for the development of female fighter Su Yun Hong, who also went on to win a world title. Interestingly he has also enjoyed golfing since his retirement from being an active fighter.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).