Injured South Korean boxer declared brain dead

Updated: January 2, 2008, 8:13 PM ET
Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea -- A South Korean boxer who fell into a coma after winning his WBO intercontinental flyweight title fight last week was declared dead early Thursday.

Choi Yo-sam was declared dead after his internal organs were removed for donation, a spokesman at Asan Hospital said. A hospital committee had pronounced Choi brain dead Wednesday after a series of tests. He had been in a coma since shortly after winning the fight against challenger Heri Amol in Seoul on Dec. 25.

The 33-year-old South Korean was knocked down just before the end of the 12th and final round of the bout but got back up and was declared the winner on points before collapsing.

Doctors were legally required to get approval from the prosecutors' office before organ donation.

"He has lived a hard life," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted Oh Soon-hui, Choi's 65-year-old mother, as saying. "I hope he has gone to a peaceful place."

She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Choi was the WBC light flyweight world champion from October 1999 to July 2002, and fought for the WBA light flyweight world title in September 2004.

South Korea's boxing commission had no immediate comment.

In 1982, South Korean lightweight Duk Koo Kim died four days after being knocked out by Ray Mancini in a title fight in Las Vegas. Another South Korean fighter, bantamweight Lee Tong-choon, died of acute brain swelling in 1995, four days after losing consciousness following a fight against Setsuo Kawamasu in Tokyo.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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