Of all the photos of my boxing career, this is my favorite. My opponent was a tough guy named Min-gu Lee. He's a classical guitarist (and I found out later, a really nice guy).
I trained really hard for this fight, and I was excited; it would be broadcast on LIVE TV! Min-gu was excited too, but I also think he was nervous about fighting a 무서운외국인.
In Round 1 of our fight, I split my head open on his 스톤머리. That's why there's so much blood in the photo. I was bleeding badly, but I was relaxed and continued to fight. I kept thinking, "This is on LIVE TV, I can really prove my bravery." That was important to me when I was younger.
The doctor and the referee allowed the fight to continue.
About a minute later I broke my right hand on his head, too! Min-gu really is 스톤머리. I couldn't use my right hand anymore, but it was OK because I had already thrown SO MANY right uppercuts, that Min-gu wanted to stay away from my right hand. That allowed me to get lots of points with my faster-than-average left hand, and win the fight (video).
Back to the photo. It was taken in the 4th round, when we were near the ropes. I had dipped down and fired a left hook to the body, followed by a left uppercut. Just as the uppercut landed, there was a big camera flash from the photographer. At that moment I thought, "that's going to be an AWESOME pic!"
After the fight I spoke directly into the TV camera, and told my girlfriend (and all of Korea) that I loved her and I would marry her. That night, after I went to the hospital for stitches, I drove one-handed to her parents' house in Yongin and asked her father if I could have his daughter's hand in marriage. He said yes. Two weeks later I proposed to my fiancee on LIVE TV, after winning the tournament .
When I look at this photo I remember the overwhelming excitement of the fight, the feeling of the warm blood flowing over my left eye, and the throbbing pain of my right hand. I remember the intense fear of losing the fight, and the relief I felt upon hearing the judges' decision in my favor. I remember the pride I felt when I heard the loud cheers of all my friends when I was announced the winner, and the confidence I was instilled with.
Unfortunately, my wife and I are no longer together. That heartbreak adds to the many emotions I feel when I see this photo, and for some reason, makes it even more special to me.