The South Korean who changed boxing history

4:40:00 AM Tkd kwan 0 Comments

Tragic Loss: Boxer's Death followed by Coach and Mother's Suicide!

After a fatal battle in 1982, Kim Duk-koo's coach, Kim Yoon-Gu, urged Duk-koo to finish off his exhausted opponent, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. Duk-koo agreed and then suffered a fatal blow from Mancini in the 14th round. He was taken to the hospital and died four days later. Following the tragedy, the eight-count rule was introduced, match length was shortened, and stricter medical tests were required for boxers before each fight. 

Kim Duk-koo (born Lee Deok-gu) was a South Korean boxer who tragically passed away following a world championship boxing bout against Ray Mancini. His death led to important reforms aimed at protecting the well-being of boxers, including a reduction in the number of rounds for championship fights from 15 to 12.

Kim was born in Gangwon Province, South Korea and grew up in poverty, taking on various odd jobs before pursuing a career in boxing in 1976.

After a successful amateur career, Kim turned professional in 1978. By February 1982, he had become the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation lightweight champion and was ranked as the World Boxing Association's top contender. His professional record was 17-1-1 before challenging Mancini for the lightweight championship. Despite his impressive record, Kim had limited experience fighting outside of South Korea, having only fought once in the Philippines prior to the Mancini bout, which was his first fight in North America.

Mancini Match:

Kim was not highly respected by the US boxing establishment, but Ray Mancini anticipated an intense fight. In the days leading up to the match, Kim struggled to meet the strict lightweight weight limit. He was quoted as saying, "Either he dies, or I die," and left a message on his hotel lampshade reading "live or die."

The fight took place on November 13, 1982, where Mancini and Kim engaged in a fierce bout, causing visible injuries to both fighters. Despite Kim showing resilience, Mancini took control in the later rounds, eventually winning by TKO in the 14th round. Tragically, Kim collapsed into a coma after the fight and was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery. He passed away five days later from a subdural hematoma. The incident received widespread attention, particularly as it was televised live by CBS.

Kim had never fought a 15-round bout before, in contrast to Mancini, who was more experienced. His professional record stood at 17 wins, two losses, and one draw, with eight victories by knockout.

Aftermath of Kim's death:

Following Kim's tragic passing, Mancini went through a period of self-blame and reflection. Friends eventually reassured him that it was an accident, yet he continued to be haunted by the incident, with his promoter Bob Arum stating that he was never the same after Kim's death. Two years later, Mancini lost his title to Livingstone Bramble.

The fatal fight had lasting impact on the boxing world. The referee of a subsequent fight, Joey Curtis, admitted to stopping a match early due to the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s new orders for referees to be more aware of fighters’ health, instigated by the Mancini-Kim fight.

The aftermath of Kim's death also brought about significant changes in boxing regulations. The Nevada State Athletic Commission proposed rule changes like extending the break between rounds, implementing the standing eight count, and imposing new rules concerning suspension of licenses. Additionally, the World Boxing Council announced changes to reduce title fights from 15 rounds to 12, prompting the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation to follow suit.

The tragic loss of Kim also led to improvements in medical procedures for boxers, with new pre-fight checkups like electrocardiograms, brain tests, and lung tests being introduced. The changes helped enhance the overall safety measures for boxers, marking a significant development in the sport.

In a match against South Korean challenger Duk Koo Kim on November 13, 1982, 21-year-old Mancini met 27-year-old Kim at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The fight was televised live on CBS Sports, and Mancini won by TKO in the 14th round. Tragically, moments after the fight, Kim collapsed and fell into a coma, and later died from a subdural hematoma. Mancini fell into a deep depression after attending Kim's funeral in South Korea and was plagued by guilt and blame. The WBC then took steps to shorten title bouts to a maximum of 12 rounds after Kim's death.

Mancini continued to fight, defending his title three more times, including a win against former world champion Bobby Chacon in January 1984. He also lost his title in a match against Livingstone Bramble in June 1984 after 14 rounds. Despite several attempts to regain his world title, Mancini ultimately retired from boxing.

Ray Mancini, a former professional boxer who held the WBA lightweight title from 1982 to 1984, is an American of Italian descent, born as Raymond Michael Mancino on March 4, 1961 in Youngstown, Ohio. He inherited his nickname "Boom Boom" from his father, Lenny Mancini, who was a boxer in the 1940s, and encouraged him to develop his boxing skills. In 2015, Mancini was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Mancini made his professional debut on October 18, 1979, defeating Phil Bowen with a first-round knockout. He was a prominent figure on American television networks and defeated several notable boxers throughout his career. He won his first major title on May 16, 1981, by defeating Jorge Morales for the WBC-affiliated NABF Lightweight championship. Mancini's first attempt at a world title was against Alexis Argüello, which many considered one of the most spectacular fights of the 1980s, and although he was initially leading, he was defeated by Argüello.

On May 8, 1982, Mancini became the WBA Lightweight champion after defeating Arturo Frias in Las Vegas. His first title defense was against Ernesto España, resulting in a knockout win in the 6th round. However, his match against South Korean challenger Duk Koo Kim led to tragedy, as Kim suffered a fatal injury during the fight and passed away four days later. Mancini experienced deep emotional turmoil following the tragic event and was plagued with feelings of guilt and blame.

Shortly after Kim's death, the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF took steps to reduce the length of title bouts to a maximum of 12 rounds. Mancini continued to box after the tragedy, defeating George Feeney in Italy and successfully defending his title twice. However, in June 1984, while still recovering from Kim's death, Mancini was defeated by Livingstone Bramble in Buffalo, New York after 14 rounds. Despite efforts to regain his title, Mancini suffered losses in subsequent matches, including one against Héctor 'Macho' Camacho in March 1989 and a final fight in April 1992 against Greg Haugen, where the fight was stopped in the seventh round.