Korean boxers striking for gold; Cuban, Russian stand in the wayFor the first time in eight years, South Korea is rocking and rolling in the boxing ring.
In the quarterfinals of the men’s under-57 kilogram class, Jo Seok-hwan defeated Viorel Simion of Romania, 39-36, on Monday night, securing at least a bronze with that victory. His compatriot, Kim Jung-joo, also secured at least a bronze on Sunday in the men’s welterweight class and will face Lorenzo Aragon Armenteros of Cuba on Friday. Two bronze medals, one silver and one gold are awarded in each boxing class.
Jo will square off against Alexei Tichtchenko of Russia in the featherweight semifinals on Friday. If Jo wins that bout, he could go on to face North Korean Kim Song-guk in the gold-medal match on Saturday.
Although the match against Tichtchenko lacks the North-versus-South Korea factor, it is still one to watch. Tichtchenko easily toppled the reigning world champion, Kazakstan’s Galib Jafarov, in a contest following Jo’s win Monday against Simion.
Initially, Jo’s bout didn’t look favorable. Early on, the 24-year-old was docked a point for holding. He lagged behind Simion in round one, 8:9, and in round two, 7:8.
But Jo came back strong in the third round. Although Simion matched Jo’s intensity, the South Korean won, 13:12. In round four, Jo outboxed a weary and slower Simion, 11:6.
After the contest, Jo said, “Until the second round I did not have the psychology to win the bout. So my coach talked to me and said, ‘Respect yourself and the training you have had so far.’ This made me more confident; I scored more points and won the contest.”
by Joe Yong-hee