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S. Korea's last Olympic boxing champion wishes medal was silver Updated: 2021-04-21 09:58:15 KST

South Korea's last Olympic boxing champion still sighs in pain when his gold medal is brought up.
It wasn't joy but shame on Park Si-heon's face at the end of the Seoul Olympics men's light middleweight boxing final against America's Roy Jones Jr.

"The very moment my hand was raised, I knew something wasn't right Intuition Afterwards, the press started attacking me when I had absolutely nothing to do with the result. All I did was fight my heart out in the ring, like an Olympic boxer would."

Spectators booed as three out of five judges awarded Park the victory despite Jones landing close to three times as many punches.

"Roy was just NINETEEN when we fought. I underestimated him. His technical prowess was beyond anything I expected. Speed, power, ring sense. Roy had everything and I admit he was the better fighter."

The International Olympic Committee investigated the fight's decision amid allegations of corruption, but concluded in 1997 that it had found no evidence to support any of the claims.
Jones requested a rematch after the Olympics, but a nagging hand injury sustained two weeks before the Games would force Park to retire following their gold medal bout.
Jones would go on to become one of the sport's all-time greats while Park fell into depression.

"The media's words scarred me so much that I didn't even want to continue living anymore."

Park would eventually find a new purpose in life, mentoring young boxers, even leading the Korean boxing team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Today, he coaches Seogwipo City's boxing team on Jeju Island, but hasn't given up on a chance to restore his honor.

"I want to sculpt a true Olympic boxing champion with my own two hands. I'll be able to leave the ring for good then and walk a new path If the opportunity presents itself, I'd love to coach the national team again. It's my dream."

Park's son is working to reunite his father with Jones for a sparring session between the two Olympians' pupils
A reunion that Park has been waiting for since 1988.

"Roy Jones Jr., you were an amazing athlete. The most technically skilled boxer I've ever seen. COVID-19's put a halt on all travel, but once I get the chance to see you again I'd like to give you a warm hug and hang my gold medal around your neck. It's been 33 years Let's talk and catch up on all the lost time my friend. Love you Roy."

Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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