by John Evans (Photos by Scott Elliot)
SEOUL, South Korea – The most heavily publicized welterweight match-up in Korean mixed martial arts history ended quickly on Sunday as “Go! Super Korean” coach “Crazy” Kwang Hee Lee utilized repeated soccer kicks to the head of his former student, “Mr. Perfect,” Kyoung Ho Kang, to force a first round stoppage.
Lee was the aggressor from the start, and though Kang did land a pair of hard overhand rights early in the fight, he could do little more in the following minute than throw jabs and work from closed guard to defend against Lee’s ground and pound.
Following a stand-up mid-round, Lee landed a lead body shot and worked the ensuing clinch and takedown from Kang’s guard to side mount. Lee – the more powerful striker of the two – then elected to stand, leaving Kang to defend from his back. Seven field goal attempts later, the fight was over.
“Without soccer kicks, there’s not much fun,” Lee commented during the post fight press conference.
Luckily, “Mr. Perfect” was up quickly following the TKO, providing “Crazy” Kwang with the opportunity to take an abbreviated lap of the ring with him on his shoulders and demonstrate that the two fighters would remain friends, despite the savage beating.
EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw was on hand to scout Spirit MC talent for future EliteXC events. In the post fight press conference, he did little to dispel the rumors that “Crazy” Kwang would soon follow in the footsteps of Spirit MC middleweight Jae Suk Lim to compete in a ProElite event outside Korea.
Lee later used a combination of body language and facial expressions, (broad smile), to all but confirm an impending U.S. fight to this effectively monolingual reporter.
In the penultimate fight of the night, Yun Young Kim met DEEP veteran Ho Jin Kim, who was a last minute replacement for Team BJ Penn fighter Ross Ebanez. Due to what was dismissed by Shaw as simple “confusion,” Spirit MC had persisted in advertising the Kim vs. Ebanez pairing on event posters, television commercials and even the organization home page within a week of the event, though Ebanez had long been scheduled to appear at a Jan. 25 ShoXC event in Atlantic City, N.J.
His opponent changed, but it was the original Kim who prevailed and earned the opportunity to face American Top Team fighter Steve Bruno for the middleweight title.
This was a close fight for two rounds, highlighted by a couple of nice hip tosses by Ho Jin Kim. The third stanza saw a long delay following a lead right by Ho Jin Kim to the crotch of Yun Young Kim, but it was the lanky Kim who found rear mount and finished the fight via armbar with 1:51 remaining.
There is something great about a competitive contest between world class ju-jitsu practitioners, but there is also an ethereal, often more powerful allurement, one that draws fight fans toward lethargic, lunging headhunts involving battered, winded and punched-out heavyweights. It’s just fun to watch two bloody guys who can no longer lift their hands search for the one punch that will end it all. Thus was the heavyweight slugfest between Joung Gyu Choi and Sung Bae Whi. Joung Gyu Choi is famous for his huge, impact resistant head and the fact that he once went the distance with an injured Denis Kang, while Seung Bae Whi is best known for his straight rights and his undefeated record in Spirit MC competition. This slobber knocker went the distance, with Whi taking home the decision.
Spirit MC 14 Final Results
Jang-chung Gymnasium, Seoul, South Korea
January 20, 2009
Kwang Hee Lee def. Kyoung Ho Kang by TKO (Soccer Kicks) at 4:17, R1
Yun Young Kim def. Ho Jin Kim by Submission (Armbar) at 1:51, R3
Seung Bae Whi def. Joung Gyu Choi by Unanimous Decision, R3
Nam Sun Kim def. Haeng Ki Kim by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 4:25, R2
Dool Hee Lee def. Hae Joon Yang by TKO (Strikes) at 1:13, R1
Sang Il An def. Myoung Kwang Min by KO (High Kick) at 0:15, R1
Jae Hyun So def. Ki Young Nam by Submission (Armbar) at 4:49, R1
Hoo Sun Lee def. Jin Seok Park by Submission (Armbar) at 2:37, R1