Boxing world mourns tragic death

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Boxing world mourns tragic death

Bae Ki-suk’s sudden death this week after suffering fatal injuries in the ring is a blow to the sport of boxing. But the young boxer’s background and tender age make the story all the more tragic.

The 23-year-old lost the super flyweight Korean title bout in Daejeon on July 17 against Jung Jin-ki via TKO in the eighth round. After the match, Bae showed seizure-like symptoms including vomiting. He was taken to a hospital for a medical examination, which revealed cerebral hemorrhaging. Despite an operation lasting five hours, Bae failed to recover consciousness and was declared dead on Wednesday.

It marked a sad final chapter for a boxer who fought his way through life since he was young. The Busan native was raised by his grandmother from an early age. His father passed away when Bae was three, and his mother left the family soon after. Bae took up boxing in elementary school and made his professional debut in May 2003. Earning 100,000 won ($83.10) per round as a professional, Bae worked a day shift at a factory and trained for boxing in the evenings.

Bae compiled a record of seven wins and seven losses. But he was knocked out twice in recent matches. Bae then moved up a weight class for the 10-round Korean title bout sanctioned by the Korean Boxing Commission.

Bae’s death is the first in the local boxing scene since Choi Yo-sam fell into a coma after a successful WBO Intercontinental title defense on Dec. 25, 2007. Choi was declared brain-dead on Jan. 2, 2008, and removed from a ventilator a day later.

The Korean Boxing Commission is covering the hospital and funeral costs and also announced it will start a fund-raising campaign for Bae’s family. For more information on the fund-raising effort, visit www.koreaboxing.co.kr.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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