By Cynthia Choo and Fiona Lam
REPORTING FROM SEOUL, KOREA
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama, known as Choo Sung Hoon to Korean fans, returned to the Octagon to slug it out with Alberto Mina in a three round fight at UFC’s debut event in Seoul last Saturday (28 Nov), only to lose by split decision.
A slew of strikes and a kick to the face by Mina caused Choo to stumble early in the second round, but the emphatic calls of “Choo Sung Hoon, Choo Sung Hoon” echoing through the stadium lifted him back on his feet.
“There were so many Korean fans cheering for me that it helped me to stand up again for the second round. That actually also gave me the courage and the power to fight for the third round,” said Choo at the post fight press conference.
But he rarely gets to relish in the resounding cheers. Having fought his last four fights with breaks averaging up to a year and half between each, Choo has to find ways to keep motivated — outside the arena.