by Joe Koizumi

Apr. 18, 1998
SEOUL, KOREA--Rugged Korean YONGSOO CHOI, 130, had a tough time with GILBERTO SERRANO, 130, the top contender from Venezuela, but kept stalking him and finally caught him to drop him twice en route to a fine stoppage at 1:10 of the 9th to retain his WBA junior lightweight title at Seoul Hilton Hotel.

Scored after the 8th--Hector Hernandez (Mexico) 78-74, Guillermo Perez (Panama) 79-74, both for Serrano, and Pinit Prayadsab (Thailand) 76-76. Choi, 26, raised his credentials to 24-2-1, 14 KOs. Serrano, 28, fell to 15-4-1, 13 KOs.

The upright stylist Serrano, an inch taller at 5'9" than Choi, made good use of sharp and strong jabs with precision, reddening the champ's face and taking the first 3 rounds with ease. Choi attempted to lead with jolting lefts, but often missed the elusive target. The 3rd saw Choi landing a single right to the cheek of Serrano, who, however, controled the pace with his accurate punches. It looked obvious that Serrano was a technically superior boxer.

Choi, making his 7th defense, scored looping right crosses on 3 occasions to take a point in the 4th, while Serrano kept jabbing sporadically. The Venezuelan was in command again in the 5th and 6th, as he still kept jabbing to prevent Choi form coming close to him.

Serrano, who previously stopped Panamanian Orlando Soto in 2 rounds to win the Fedeboliviano title in 1996, was said that his defects might be a suspect chin and a lack of stamina. It proved true. As Serrano's mobility became apparently slower than in earlier rounds, Choi came forward to mix it up with the fading Venezuelan from the 7th onward. Choi landed good right uppercuts in the close quarter. The 8th also went to Choi, who kept chasing the retreating Serrano.

In the fatal 9th, Choi applied the pressure and pinned Serrano to the ropes. Choi exploded a vicious right cross followed by a short left hook. Serrano crashed to the deck near the ropes. He barely regained his feet. Choi rushed in with a solid jab to Serrano in the corner. This became the final shot to sink the groggy Venezuelan. Referee Rafael Ramos, Texas, called a well-timed halt to award a come-from-behind victory to the less skillful but lion hearted champ.

Veteran fighter Chongkil Kim, 140, seized the vacant Korean national junior welter title by scoring a unanimous decision (98-95 and 98-94) over Jungbum Kim, 140, over 10.

Promoter: Kukdong Promotions.
WBA supervisior: Aurelio Fiengo.

PS It should have been registered as a TKO for Choi, because the third man didn't count the fatal ten. But, in Korea, they make it a rule to register these stoppages as KO, not TKO. But it must be internationally recorded as TKO.


Hector Hernandez (Mexico)

Choi 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 9 74
Serrano 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 10 78

Guillermo Perez (Panama)

Choi 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 9 74
Serrano 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 10 79

Pinit Prayadsab (Thailand)

Choi 9 9 9 10 9 10 10 10 76
Serrano 10 10 10 9 10 9 9 9 76

Referee: Rafael Ramos, Texas, USA

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