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(Olympics) Lone S. Korean boxer loses in competition's 2nd round

All Headlines 08:08 August 15, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- Ham Sang-myeong, the lone South Korean boxer in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, lost in the second round of the men's bantamweight (56kg) class on Sunday.

Ham lost to Zhang Jiawei of China in a unanimous decision. The score was 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) for the Chinese.

Ham initially came up short in the Olympic qualifying event but got his spot at the last minute when another boxer withdrew from the Rio Games.

The South Korean boxer had defeated Zhang for the gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, but the Chinese turned the table in Rio.

With Ham representing the nation alone, South Korea had its smallest boxing delegation ever at a Summer Olympics.

This was also the first games since the 2000 Sydney Olympics in which South Korea failed to win a boxing medal.

Ham and Zhang went at it from the first bell. Zhang gradually took control starting in the second round, as Ham began to visibly tire.

With the South Korean a step or two slower, Zhang had his way with Ham to secure the victory.

Ham has often said he didn't really think he won the Asian Games gold cleanly, suggesting biased officiating. And after losing to Zhang in the rematch, Ham said he accepted the result because all he wanted was a fair fight.

"Zhang Jiawei flat out beat me," Ham said. "I have no complaints about this match. I fought way over my head, and I am satisfied with it."

Ham reiterated that he didn't think he deserved the Asian Games victory, which is why he wanted a more transparent bout.

"I am pleased even though I lost, because this was clean," he said. "Zhang has become a monster. If I have another chance, I'd like to face him again. This was a really fun fight."

After losing to Ham two years ago, Zhang joined the pro circuit created by the International Boxing Association, called AIBA Pro Boxing. Zhang is the APB bantamweight champion.

After Sunday's match, Ham reached out to congratulate Zhang, and grabbed his hand and lifted it upward for all to see who the winner was.

"Zhang said he became the APB champion because he worked hard to beat me," Ham said. "When I saw him after the fight, he just looked so happy. So I wanted to congratulate him."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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