Posted : 2011-03-17 16:22
Updated : 2011-03-17 16:22

Boxing champ: actress Lee

Actress Lee Si-young’s arm is raised following her victory in the final of the national amateur boxing championships for rookies in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, Thursday. / Yonhap

By Yi Whan-woo

This beauty can fight better than one might imagine.

Actress Lee Si-young, featured in a variety of TV dramas and movies, became a boxing champion Thursday at the women’s national amateur championships for rookies.

The southpaw triumphed in a referee stopped contest (RSC) victory in the 48-kilogram final against Sung So-mi in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province.

Lee dominated in the ring with a 17-0 lead in the 1 minute 40 seconds of the third and final round. The referee intervened under amateur boxing regulations as the margin was extended by more than 15.

The 1.69-meter Lee showed her intent from the first round as she used her reach to land straight punches for a 9-0 lead.

While Sung fought back in the following round, Lee responded with counter punches and put her opponent down three times before the fight was called.

“Lee has a good edge as a boxer with her physique, as seen from her height and long reach,” national team head coach Lee Seung-bae said after the match.

“Her left straight punches are especially sharp. I’d say she had an excellent showing though she is only a rookie,” he added.

Lee trains under Hong Soo-hwan, a former WBA bantamweight and WBA super bantamweight champion in the 1970s. Hong also praised the actress after Wednesday’s semifinal, in which Lee won 13-7 against Shin So-young.

“As a 48-kilogram boxer, her physique is ideal for her weight. If we stick to serious training from now on, competing in the London Olympics next year could be a reality,” Hong said.

Lee also won the Seoul amateur championships for rookies in February, qualifying for the national competition. The nation’s boxing governing body requires an athlete to first compete in an event organized by a local government.

While the actress popular for her role in the TV drama “Boys over flowers” (2009) proclaimed herself a boxing talent, the 28-year-old was the oldest participant at the national championships with a 17 to 34 age limit.

Lee’s first introduction to the sport came early last year through pre-production of a TV drama.

“I can’t remember exactly when she first put the gloves on because she did not start seriously, but for fun, like a hobby,” said Lee’s manager Jung Kwang-sung from GnG Productions.

The drama was called off but the actress’s interest in the sport grew.

Her agency has respected the decision although there are worries she may hurt herself, especially if she sustains facial injuries.

“It’s totally her decision, and boxing is a healthier way to spend one’s time, considering the number of celebrities that are caught up with drinking,” he said.

Jung, however, was skeptical when asked about Lee aiming for the Olympics, quoted as saying “Let’s get real. The Olympics is not something a junior can mess around in."
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