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Godfather of Korean pro wrestling dies at 64

Lee Wang-pyo, who was viewed as the godfather of Korea’s professional wrestling, died Tuesday after a battle against gallbladder cancer. He was 64.

Lee, who headed the Korean Pro Wrestling Association, died at 9:48 a.m., its officials said.

Lee, who was the top pupil of “head-butt master” late Kim Il, made his pro wrestling debut in 1975 and rose in the scene after winning the heavyweight championship belt at the World Wrestling Association. When the popularity of pro wrestling started going down in Korea in the 1980s, Lee tried to revive the industry by actively performing in the ring and appearing on television shows.

Lee also made headlines in 2009 and 2010 when he faced U.S. mixed martial arts fighter Bob Sapp.

He officially retired from the ring in 2015 but had been actively engaging in the development of Korea’s pro wrestling industry.

Lee had surgery and overcame gallbladder cancer in 2013, but the same type of cancer recently returned, forcing him to stay hospitalized.


Bento’s boys to face Panama, Uruguay and Uzbekistan

Korea will play friendly football matches with Uruguay, Panama and Uzbekistan later this year, the national football governing body said Tuesday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Korea, now led by new head coach Paulo Bento, will face Uruguay on Oct. 12 and take on Panama three days later. Both matches will be held at home, but the exact venues will be decided later.

The KFA added Korea will meet Uzbekistan in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 20, three days after they play against Australia at the same venue.

The latest announcement finalizes the match schedule of Bento’s team before entering the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Bento is set to make his Korea coaching debut against Costa Rica in Goyang, Gyeonggi, on Friday and will guide the men’s national football team against Chile next Tuesday.

“We’ll test our competitiveness against World Cup participants in October, and we’ll be entering the Asian Cup mode in November,” said Kim Dae-eop, who heads the national team supporting office at the KFA. “We believe upcoming friendly matches will be a big help for our national football team.”

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