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Yo-Sam Choi dead at age 33

By Zach Arnold | January 2, 2008

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South Korean boxer Yo-Sam Choi, who slipped into a coma after winning a 12-round decision over Hari Amol in Seoul on Christmas, is brain dead and will be taken off of life support.

Coverage on the story at BBC Sports, Eastside Boxing, and Boxing Scene.

Topics: Boxing, Media, South Korea, Zach Arnold | 11 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

11 Responses to “Yo-Sam Choi dead at age 33”

  1. Chuck says:

    Oh shit, this is NOT good. The first boxing related death of 2008. RIP Choi.

  2. cyphron says:

    From his diary:
    “Not much time is left. Will I be a loser again? I can’t concentrate… 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.”

    It’s like he had a premonition of his death. Heart breaking. RIP.

  3. Tomer Chen says:

    That’s eerily similar to Duk Koo Kim’s “live or die” message and the mini coffin he brought before the Ray Mancini bout…

  4. The Gaijin says:

    Not to sound like a jerk, but if the winner died, how did the loser fare?

    Was this a bad decision or something, b/c I don’t think I can think of too many fights where the winner died and the loser walked away.

    Though I believe in the Nigel Benn fight, he was on the losing end up until the later stages when he started taking it to McClennan (who didn’t die but was severely injured iirc).

  5. Michaelthebox says:

    Thats sad as hell.

    the gaijin: from another article:

    “Choi had a comfortable lead going into the 12th round but suffered a knockdown at the hands of Amol which could have possibly led to the post fight collapse. Amol landed a series of vicious left and right hooks just 5 seconds before the end of the fight causing the knockdown.”

    It almost sounds like he would have been fine if the fight had ended 20 seconds earlier.

  6. Eduardo says:

    I don’t know any details about this fighter’s history, but on the other hand you got to wonder if he had a pre-existing condition, or if the tests before the bout were properly done, how was it sanctioned, etc. Cause it’s very unlikely I think that he would have died truly from the last punches, but most likely he already had some sort of brain injury that he was carrying on I think. =( Very sad.

  7. The Gaijiin says:

    Thanks Michael, truly a sad story.

    That actually sounds eerily similar to what happened to Joe Mesi against Jassily Jirov a few years back. Dominating the fight until the final round where he walked on a punched, got knocked down like 3x, then struggled like wild to stay on his feet for the closing bell while taking a beating.

    Fortunately Mesi survived, unfortunately he’s attempting a comeback.

  8. mdhan says:


    IIRC from what I’ve read from the Korean media, it is not likely that the final blows were what directly triggered the cerebral hemorrhage.

  9. Mr. Roadblock says:

    It’s possible that he cut too much weight for the fight. And that by doing so his body was depleted of the cerebro-spinal fluid that keeps the brain in place in the skull. The brain more or less floats in the skull and the saline like solution it is in is meant to keep the brain for smashing hard against the side of the skull. When you cut weight the cerebro-spinal fluid is one of the last things to come back.

    It is interesting to note that all of the boxing deaths come at the low body weights where fighters are cutting up to 15% of their body weights in the final week before a fight. No Heavyweights have died in the ring in recent memory and they hit much harder than the lower weight fighters. It’s believed that the accumulation of blows and the swollen brain repeatedly hitting the skull that kills boxers.

  10. Michaelthebox says:

    I’m not sure how much of it has to do with the weight cutting, although I’m sure it could play a part. Its just unlikely for a HW to get his ass kicked for 10 rounds without getting KO’ed. The lighter fighters are much more likely to get wailed on for such a long time.

    Thats one reason I don’t expect MMA to ever have as many deaths as boxing, because the quality LWs, FWs, and BWs tend to have fights with a lot of grappling and transitions.

  11. Eduardo says:

    Thanks Mdhan, michaelthebox and Mr. Roadblock.

    Makes a lot of sense and it goes as I thought. Here in Brazil people are now questioning the safeness of Boxing and other forms of fighting, etc, etc. But they only think about the danger of the striking themselves, when the danger might lie in other factors such as you mentioned, along with the striking of course.
    So, maybe it would be worth to have a discussion about same-day weigh-ins being around one day, forcing fighters to fight more closer to their natural weight. I know it’s difficult and gives little leverage to the promotion in case people miss their weights, but it maybe would be safer for everybody.


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