Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Panamanian boxer-turned-politician looking forward to reunion with old S. Korean rival

"Panamanian boxer-turned-politician looking forward to reunion with old S. Korean rival," Yonhap News

Image from article, with caption: Panamanian politician Hector Carrasquilla speaks during a interview at a Seoul hotel on Sept. 6, 2016. The former boxer will meet his old South Korean rival Hong Soo-hwan, who previously defeated him in a match for the World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight title in 1977.

For old South Korean boxing fans, Nov. 26, 1977, is a day that they can't forget.

It was the day that Hong Soo-hwan claimed the World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight title after beating Hector Carrasquilla in Panama City. Hong was floored four times in the second round against Carrasquilla, but he got right back up each time. In the third round, the South Korean finally knocked out the Panamanian with a left hook and claimed the world title.

For Carrasquilla, it's also a day he can't forget.

"I probably have watched the video clip of the match about one million times," Carrasquilla told Yonhap News Agency on Monday. "Whenever I watch it, I think the victory just slipped through my hands."

Carrasquilla is now in South Korea, not seeking revenge on Hong but observing the country's administration system as a Panamanian congressman. The 56-year-old is one of the 33 individuals invited by the Korea Foundation, a leading public diplomacy organization in Seoul.

During his visit, Carrasquilla will still meet Hong, who is now head of the Korea Boxing Commission (KBC), at a Seoul boxing gym Friday. This will be their first meeting since 1999, when they met each other through a local television show. ...

Under the KF's visiting program, Carrasquilla will visit the National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and the Korea Institute for National Unification to understand South Korea's national system in politics, trade and unification. He will tour with politicians from 24 countries.

"I want to understand Korean culture and the way South Korea developed its economy," he said. "I can still remember what South Korea was like 38 years ago, but after I arrived at Incheon International Airport this time, I was amazed to find out that South Korea made a big progress in its economy."

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