Interview With Choi
Talks Gamboa, Asiku,
Patavikorngym & Much More
By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Two time Featherweight Champion of the World Choijiljavyn
Tseveenpürev, better known to British fans simply as ‘Choi’,
is set to face WBC Asia Champion Bandung Patavikorngym at
the Spencer Fearon and Ciaran Baynes Hard Knock Boxing
Promotions ‘This is Hard Knocks' event at York Hall in
London this coming Friday.
On Friday last week I caught up with Choi to have a quick
chat about the upcoming fight amongst other things, but
before I get to that here is a brief catchup on his career
Can you imagine any British fighter traveling abroad to make
his debut against a current domestic champ in their own
backyard, well Choi did.
Choi is the antithesis of the modern-day protected boxer. He
started his career as an away fighter in a ten round bout
against then unbeaten Korean Bantamweight Champion Jeung-Tae
Kim in Seoul, South Korea on the 22nd November 1996.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any fight reports
for his early career, all I know is that Choi won by an
eighth round knockout.
He returned to South Korea on the 28th June 1997 for his
second bout, this time against OPBF Super Bantamweight
Champion Hee-Youn Kwon in Busan. As before it was a
scheduled ten rounder and as before it didn’t go the
distance, as Choi knocked Kwon out in the ninth round.
Ten months later Choi packed his bags again, this time to
travel to Bangkok, Thailand to face, and lose on points to,
legendary two time World Champ Veeraphol Sahaprom.
Two more trips to Bangkok followed, the first ends with the
first round knockout of Surapol Sithnaruepol on the 2nd
October ‘98, and then on the 7th January ‘99 ends with a
second round knockout of Ekarat 13Rientower.
In May 1999 Choi got his first title shot against Bulan
Bugiarso, the longtime PABA Super Bantamweight champion, in
Indonesia. After twelve rounds the decision went the way of
the champion, even though Choi dominated the majority of the
Three months later, on his seventh pro fight, Choi finally
got a fight in his home country of Mongolia, against Jiao
Hasabayar. Which he won with a fourth round stoppage.
Ten days later he was again on his travels, this time to
Shenyang, China, where he knocked out Thongdang Sor Vorapin
in the fourth.
The following May see Choi in his first fight in the UK,
against David Jeffrey at the Tara Leisure Centre in Shaw,
Lancashire, which gave British fans their first opportunity
to witness first hand the phenomenal power of the Mongolian
Warrior, as he stopped the Brit in the second round.
Choi returned to the Tara Leisure Centre twice more in 2000.
The first see him stop Billy Smith in two and on the second
he secured a tidy points victory over Chris Williams.
On the 27th April 2001 Choi traveled to Glasgow, where he
faced and lost on points to future British, Commonwealth,
European and WBU World Champ Willie Limond.
Choi returned to UK action in September ‘01 for two further
bouts, against Steve Hanley and two weeks later against
Livinson Ruiz, both ended with convincing points victories
In December Choi fought Kevin Gerowski for the British
Masters title. The fight barely made the half way stage
before Choi stopped Gerowski. The official time of the
stoppage being 50 seconds of the fifth round.
From March 2002 through to February 2004 Choi fought in the
UK six times, and won six times - Chris Emanuele (4 Round -
points), John Mackay (5th Round TKO), Peter Allen (4th Round
TKO), Jason Nesbitt (8 Round - points), Daniel Thorpe (8
Round - points) and John Mackay (3rd Round - TKO).
In March 2003 Choi packed his bags and headed to Copenhagen
in Denmark, where he faced WBU Featherweight Champion
Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in a non-championship bout. A little
home cooking came into play which lead to Choi being on the
wrong side of a majority points decision.
Two months later Choi was back fighting in the UK, facing
then unbeaten Kevin O'Hara at the Metrodrome in Barnsley.
Another excellent points victory, by 78-75 margin, being the
In July Choi successfully defended his British Masters title
for the first time against Harry Ramogoadi, the fight came
to a premature end when Ramogoadi retired on the stool after
Choi and Harry Ramogoadi had a rematch, again for the
British Masters belt, in March 2005. This time the fight
didn’t even make the sixth as Choi sensationally stopped
Ramogoadi late in the fifth.
Choi’s first major title bout followed in November, when he
faced and stopped Germany based Belarus Aliaksei Volchan for
the vacant World Boxing Foundation International title at
the Tara Leisure Centre in Shaw.
In March 2006 Choi wins his his first World title, after
stopping WBF Intercontinental Champion David Kiilu in the
Choi successfully defended the title twice in the UK, first,
on the 11th March 2007, by a fourth round knockout of
Georgian Nikoloz Berkatsashvili and then in October 2007 by
a split decision victory over Sweden based Ugandan Abdu
For his final bout in 2007 Choi faced and beat, by a second
round knockout, Tanzanian Ajibu Salum in a non-championship
In 2008 Choi gave up the WBF belt, following an offer from
top British promoter Frank Warren to fight World Boxing
Union Champion Derry Matthews for his crown.
Matthews was very much the bookies favourite going into the
fight, but then they, or Frank Warren, didn’t expect the
diminutive Mongolian to put on such a dominating
performance, that see him sending Matthews to the deck no
less than five times on his way to a fifth round KO finish.
Unfortunately Choi never got to defend the title, following
the death of WBU President and the subsequent ceasing of
sanctioning until the WBU ownership was purchased from the
President’s estate by Don ‘Moose’ Lewis in 2011.
With no title defenses on the horizon Choi accepted a
non-championship bout, stopping Slovakian Lubos Priehradnik
with a vicious right to the head on the one minute and five
second mark of the third round.
It was almost a year before Choi was back in the ring. No
matter though as he started where he finished, with a third
round Knockout of West Ham’s Mickey Coveney.
Next up for Choi was a place in the prestigious Prizefighter
- Super Featherweight tournament at York Hall in November
The first round see him face Brighton’s Ben Murphy. What
followed was all out war with both protagonists throwing
every punch conceivable. The crowd were on the feet
throughout to sensational bout. After the three all action
rounds the three judges all scored the bout a close 29-28 in
Choi’s favour, and set him on route to face old foe Derry
Matthews in the semifinal.
What a bout, it was pure synchronized mayhem, Matthews and
Choi dug deep into their arsenals of punches for the whole
nine minutes. Choi looked certain to be one of the
finalists, having worked harder and landed the more
meaningful shots each round, but the men that mattered, the
judges Richard James Davis, Terry O’Connor and Dave Parris,
see it differently scoring it 29-28 in Matthews’ favour,
much to the astonishment of the highly vocal crowd.
This brings us more or less up to date, except that is for
Choi’s last fight against former IBO World Champion Jackson
Asiku, which I had the pleasure of covering - below is my
published fight report in it’s entirety.
On Saturday night close to fourteen hundred hardy souls
braved the rain and packed the York Hall to capacity, stormy
weather wasn’t going to stop them being ringside, at Spencer
Fearon’s Hard Knock Boxing promotions ‘Summer Smash’ event,
to watch former World Champs Choi Tseveenpurev (WBU/WBF) and
Jackson Asiku (IBO) battle it out.
Was it worth it? Well there are fights and then there are
FIGHTS, Choi-Asiku definitely comes into the later category.
On paper it promised to be one of the best match-ups of the
year so far, in reality it proved to be much, much more and
the clear front runner for ‘Fight of the Year’ honours by a
The fight started a little slowly with Asiku controlling the
first half of the round by keeping Choi at bay with crisp
solid jabs. Around the one minute thirty mark Choi launched
his first attack of the fight. After backing the Australian
based African to the ropes Choi let rip with a massive
overhand right quickly followed by a double handed body
Asiku responded with a big right of his own, but the savvy
Mongolian wasn’t deterred one bit and launched a salvo of
big right hands, uppercuts, hooks you name it Choi threw it.
Asiku’s no mug and dug in his fully stocked arsenal and
responded with equally venomous flurries. It was a close
round to call but I gave it to Choi, he was plain phenomenal
and I felt he had landed the more meaningful shots.
Round two was very much more of the same, these two warriors
went to war with a vengeance. Any attempt to describe this
round would be futile, it was probably one of the greatest
rounds seen this year. Each matched the other punch for
punch in an awesome display of the pugilistic art, it had it
all, it was pure boxing heaven to watch these two in full
flow for three sensational minutes. I see it as a 10-10
round as it was far too close to call one way or the other,
they both scored big.
What a round, what an awesome round, these two are amazing,
round two was sensational so how could they possibly top
that, well they did as round three was even more...I’m lost
for a word to describe it adequately, it was seriously class
boxing from two World class boxers. At times they stood toe
to toe and slugged it out, other times one or the other
would launch a venomous attack. Every conceivable punch in
the book was thrown time and time again. As before it was
impossible to split them, they were equal in every way.
Round four was another beautiful round, early on Asiku
switched to the body in an attempt to slow the forceful
Mongolian, who would just respond with vicious hooks to the
head. As the round progressed Choi turned the tables and
started attacking Asiku to the body with a series of piston
like hooks. It was beautiful boxing from two World class
Round five see Choi start to dominate proceedings, first by
continuing the all out assault to Asiku’s body and then with
hooks and straight rights to the head. It wasn’t one way
traffic by a long shot, Asiku made some wicked attacks of
his own, just Choi was in a groove.
Asiku started fast in the sixth and aggressively took the
fight to Choi. The diminutive Mongolian stood his ground,
taking a few shots before letting rip with pin point
accurate hooks and heavy rights. Asiku was determine to
wrestle back control so just kept coming time after time.
That is until around the two minute mark when Choi started
unwinding the most venomous uppercuts which slowed the
Not surprisingly Choi went hard on the attack in the
seventh, having rattled Asiku the previous round, and got
his just reward about midway through. Choi backed Asiku to
the ropes and attacked the body before letting rip with a
huge overhand right to the temple which sent the African to
the canvas. Asiku quickly got to his feet but as soon as the
count was done Choi went straight back on the attack,
letting rip with bomb after bomb as Asiku switched to
defensive mode to see the round out.
Rounds eight and nine see the pair go at it toe to toe
again, slugging it out for virtually every second. As in the
earlier rounds these two put on a stunning display of
boxing, just at an even higher pace!
The tenth and final round was Choi’s without doubt. He
started hard and fast forcing Asiku on to the back foot
again. Asiku was responding but his shots just didn’t have
the intensity of the previous rounds. Choi on the other hand
seemed to find even more power and began landing seriously
big shots at will until the final bell.
After ten scintillating rounds Choi was rightly declared
victorious, by a 98-93 points margin, but in my view
everyone was a winner, Choi, Asiku - who were both truly
magnificent - and those of us lucky enough to be ringside
for one of the best boxing matches anywhere for a long, long
So there you have it, Choi’s fight history, so now let’s
hear what the man himself has to say on the Asiku fight, the
upcoming showdown with Bandung Patavikorngym and much, much
Rio - Thanks for talking with me today. My first question
focuses on the magnificent battle with Jackson Asiku back in
June. What are your thoughts on that great victory?
Choi - Before the fight everyone was expecting Jackson to
He was very confident, he was very tough. He’s a very
dangerous guy, if I gave him chance he’ll try it. He’s a
warrior, I’d fight him again, I like tough guys. I like to
fight Warriors, I like them to come and fight.
That fight was a very, very hard fight you know. Jackson is
very tricky, talented fighter. Me and him it was like a war
you know, from first round to the last round it was just
Everyone was very excited in the hall, it was just mad,
people was shouting Choi, Choi, Choi and Jackson, Jackson,
Jackson. It was small hall but big crowd.
Rio - You’re headlining Hard Knocks Boxing’s first event to
be covered by Premier Sports against Bandung Patavikorngym.
Can you tell me your thoughts on this?
Choi - Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions is rising now, getting
TV is a big achievement.
This kid I will be fighting is a very good, very talented,
He’s very tough boy from Thailand, one of the real fighters,
not a little cry baby you know. He’s won nineteen fights,
ten knockouts. It’s a good achievement.
It’ll be a hard fight.
I wish that after this fight, after I knock this kid out, I
want title. I’ll fight anyone, Americans, Mexicans anyone. I
want a big title, believe me I’ll show them my power and
Rio - You touched on my next question already, are you
looking to get back into contesting for Championships again?
Choi - I had two World titles, I want a third. I gave back
my first belt to fight for the WBU title, I won but never
got another fight to defend it.
Ricky Hatton defended his WBU title many times, I defended
Rio - Is there any particular title you are looking at, or
any Champion you want to challenge for their title
Choi - Now the WBU is back I want to defend my title or
fight for another one. I’ll fight for any sanctioning body
but I want a big belt.
I’ve waited for this chance for ten years, Hard Knocks
Boxing Promotions promise me that I will fight for a big
title for the British fans. I’m ready, I’ll fight any of the
Americans, Mexicans, Asians that hold the belts, I’ll fight
Gamboa (WBA champ Yuriokis Gamboa).
Rio - You had some time away from the sport between winning
the World titles and Prizefighter, why was that?
Choi - In two years a lot has happened, I hurt my leg and
then retired, but many people wanted me to fight again.
Rio - I understand that you do a lot of charity work when
you’re not preparing for a fight, can you tell us a little
Choi - When I’m not boxing I work for home for homeless
children. There are hundreds and hundreds of kids living
rough in the towns and mountains in Mongolia, they don’t
have much clothes and no food.
They’re living like rats, you know, eating anything they
find. I want to give them all a home that is warm, really
I work for one charity, I go round and offer help. When I
fight I give as much as I can and always help to look after
On 10th October this invitation for Charity event at the
House of Lords “Let’s build a home for Mongolian children”.
Rio - Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me
today and I wish you all the best for both the 7th October
and also for the charity event.
Choi - Thank you.
Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions ‘This Is Hard Knocks’ event,
which will be headlined by Choi Tseveenpürev, takes place at
York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Friday 7th October 2011 and
broadcast live on Premier Sports (Sky channel 433).
Tickets for ‘This Is Hard Knocks’ - priced £35 (Unreserved)
and £60 (Ringside), are available now on-line at
www.tkoboxoffice.com or in person at The TRAD TKO Boxing
Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London
E16 4SA. For further information please call 07960 850645.