We still have no fights scheduled on the docket so we'll be continuing this mini series where we look at the most significant wins that a fighter scored during their career. Today we look at a favourite fighter from our Closet Classic series, Yong Soo Choi (31-4-1, 21), a Korean who had a brilliantly fun career in the 1990's, then made a short comeback to the ring in his his 40's, proving that even an old man can still fight.
Although not too well known in the west Choi was one of the most fun and exciting fighters of his era and was a through back to the Korea's that had shone in the 1980's. He was tough, rugged, through a lot of leather and was amazingly good to watch. An inside warrior who hit hard, let his hands fly and was thrilling to watch. He is the sort of throw back fighter we should all appreciate, and here is great chance to learn about one of our favourite fighters!
As is always the case with this series we are only considering official wins, and we are ordering them chronologically, not in terms of significance.
Eun Shik Lee (December 26th 1993)
Having won the Korean Super Featherweight title earlier in his career Yong Soo Choi took a huge step up on boxing day 1993 when he took on Eun Shik Lee, a fellow big punching Korean. Lee was the OPBF Super Featherweight champion, and had previously been the OPBF Bantamweight champion. Choi stopped Lee in the 3rd round to claim his first international title, and prove that he was well beyond the domestic level, and could move onto bigger and better things in the coming years. This was an under-rated win, but a big one for Choi and his career.
Yamato Mitani I (October 10th 1994)
Whilst Choi's biggest rival was Takanori Hatakeyama, who Choi fought twice and couldn't beat, arguably his first big rivalry was with Yamato Mitani, who he fought 3 times. Sadly the first fight hasn't leaked to the internet yet, whilst the other two have, but if the first is anything like the others then this was brutal, damaging and brilliantly rough. We can't really speak about the action but the significance is clear. It set up a stunning rivalry between two insanely tough and proud warriors and it was also Choi's first win on foreign soil, putting a flag on Japanese soil where he would return numerous times over the coming years. If you haven't seen Choi's other two bouts with Mitani we would serious advise checking them out.
Victor Hugo Paz (October 21st 1995)
In later 1995 Choi travelled outside of Asia for the first time as he went off to Argentina and faced the highly experienced Victor Hugo Paz, who had close to 60 bouts under his belt. Going to Argentina as the under-dog Choi didn't seem to care where he was or who he was facing as he took the fight to Paz and stopped him in the 10th round to claim the previously vacant WBA Super Featherweight title. Paz had been dropped in rounds 5 and 9 before being stopped and despite being at home Paz was down on all 3 score-cards.
Lakva Sim (February 1st 1997)
The argument of what makes a win "more significant" than another can be tricky at times, but beating a future 2-weight world champion, and one of the toughest men the sport has ever seen in an absolute barn burner is rather significant in our eyes. With that in mind Choi's 1997 win over Lakva Sim is his most significant world title defense, by some distance. This was an all out war, an absolute fire cracker that saw Korean fans getting a genuine treat, and both men taking a lot of punishment. If you like fights that are brutal, inside battled between men looking to prove they are the big dog of the ring this is for you! Choi won a split decision to retain the title, and was some how back in the ring less than 4 months later, beating Koji Matsumoto. A war like this deserved a significant rest, for both men. A real must watch a genuine 1997 Fight of the Year contender.
Gilberto Serrano (April 18th 1998)
In late 1997 Choi fought to a draw, in another brilliant war, with Takanori Hatakeyama in their first bout. The two would fight again in September 1998, with Hatakeyama taking the win with a majority decision. Between those two incredible was was a come from behind stoppage win for Choi against hard hitting Venezuelan Gilberto Serrano, who would later capture the WBA Lightweight title from Setano Zoff. Serrano was in a rather comfortable lead against Choi on 2 of the scorecards as we entered round 9. He had made Choi look a little bit silly at times, and seemed to be doing more than enough to take the title if he could see out the distance. He was however tiring in round 8 as Choi began to come on strong and in round 9 Choi broke down his man, dropping him in the corner and forcing the referee to jump in and stop the bout. This would be Choi's final successful defense.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces