Yo Sam Choi: Diary Of Stricken Boxer Reveals Troubled Young Man

Matthew Hurley: As Yo Sam Choi lies in a coma at Soon Cheon Hyang Dae Hospital in South Korea details from his daily training log sadly describe a tormented young man at odds with the sport and emotionally crippled by an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Choi even dreams of a safe haven, “free of blood”, in the scribbled diary. Choi, 32-5 with 19 KOs underwent surgery to stop the swelling of his brain after winning a unanimous decision over Heri Amol, 22-7 with 7 KOs Tuesday night in the first defense of his WBO Intercontinental flyweight title. The bout, controlled mostly by Choi, featured several clashes of heads but no point deduction by the referee..

In the twelfth round, with ten seconds until the final bell, Choi backed into his own corner and gestured to the right side of his head. Amol then threw a right hand that caught Choi on the cheek, dropping the champion to the canvas. Choi made it to his feet and finished the round before collapsing to the canvas where he remained, unconscious, as the scores were read. The stricken boxer was then carried out of the ring on a stretcher and taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage.

Now Sam Kim, a reporter for Korea’s Yonhap News Service, has revealed the details of Choi’s log in a feature story. Kim describes the log as crude and written in black pen. The diary reveals Choi’s feelings of isolation in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of nearly ten years ago that nearly ruined boxing in the country, which prevented fighters from being paid. Many of Choi’s friends left in light of the financial collapse.

“I miss so much the people who have left me,” he writes. “Will boxing leave me, too?”

Choi then goes on to lament that the parting of his friends led to mental illness that required medical attention.

“There are wounds in my heart, I need treatment,” he writes, alarmingly.

Just before his fateful bout with Amol, Choi scribbled, “Not much time is left. Will I be a loser again? I can’t concentrate. I just want to end it all.”

The final entry reads of being ready to give his all to retain his championship and one day realize his dream of living a more simple life.

“One step back, then I die. This is a match on the brink. I just want to live a simple life in a pretty house on a green landscape with someone I love. Now, I don’t like the smell of blood anymore. I’m just afraid of tomorrow.”

According to doctors, Choi’s prognosis remains grim. The fighter is just thirty-five years old.

Article posted on 30.12.2007

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