Looking through the last set of fight photos I was inspired. to see a true story unfold before my eyes. Like many fights before, two people enter a ring,and fight. Then only one fighter will approve of the outcome. Of course that is the very condensed version, and does not give weight to that actual journey to the ring. Stories from in the ring, around the ring, and in the corner have effects that radiate beyond boundaries such as countries.
In this story I speak of one young American man. Boxer Logan Yoon, aptly nicknamed "Koircan Kid" because of his Korean-American . heritage. Yoon is from Hawaii and trains with his coach and also father.
Logan Yoon is relatively unknown in the boxing world, he holds an impressive fight record of 16- 0,(going into London) 12 of those coming way of knock out. Many fighters can build records, but what does it all mean? I know what you are now asking, doesn't it mean he keeps on fighting? Well of course. But these are also human beings, and they come with more than a will to fight, work out, and diet. There are dimensions of a fighter, and a team that not every one see's.
Logan and his team has found themselves in London, England. Finding themselves in a spot to fight for MTK Globals' "The Golden Contract". This unique tournament matches fighters from the luck of a drawing, and the choice of opponent with the right colored ball. This format will separate those from those who aren't afraid of the unknown in boxing. This contest either will put everything on the line, or sets a fighter up for a comeback. This wild card scenario can scare many. Only a few came to London to take the chance.
Yoon the unknown, with no video out in the world is also a ghost on social media. Himself and his father who also plays the role of coach do not make much fizzle on any social outlets. They keep their game plan on the fight.; Is that the right formula in boxing? It's their formula non-the-less (until now). Many debate about protecting your fights vs putting it out there. Too many pro's and con's to ever cover, that's generally left to bar stool discussions. But when you get the call for an internationally broadcast-ed fight it's time to get in the media game. It was pretty much "off like a band-aid" for Team Yoon, and that's where I come in. To rip the proverbial media band aid off.
So that's how I find myself in East London as part of the team, well ahead of fight week. I am there to study, and come up with my own definition of a fighter. I have worked with fighters, been ringside, and even part of the promotion game before. Armed with my camera I get to follow a long and find out for myself, who is this kid?
Logan keeps to his regime day after to day while in London. Many times during the week, Logan was already hitting his weight goal of 140 lbs. For the last week before the fight the focus was on two tailor made work outs a day, and proper nutrition. Most importantly to Logan and his father is their daily moments with the bible. It's very apparent when Coach Yoon speaks about future plans for Logan, and his out look on things come together. This regimen keeps the team on point, and grateful. In his downtime you will find Logan on his travel game console. Probably the coolest thing I have ever seen, like, "Don't let my son find out" kinda cool!
Fast forward to "The Draw" broadcast-ed for MTK Global. Along side Jamie Conlan and media Yoon pulls blue #4. Interesting spot to be in, blue, you choose... but #4 you don't really choose. You get who ever is last. You may go ahead and speculate on who the last fighter would be (I am not going into the theory of the pick).
The fight match becomes, Longan Yoon VS Ohara Davies. Davies being a fighter from Hackney ( a borough which makes him the home town choice in East London). Ohara comes in at 19-2, with 15 KO's, and is 27 years old. Known as "Two Tanks" due to his power punching style. I've seen match ups like these before, it's similar to finesse vs strength, smarts vs street. Two very different styles, two completely different people. Ohara earlier in the day making loud statements to the media warning his unknown at the time opponent he will smash his head in ( in similar and harsher words). He also at one point had another verbal back and forth insulting a fighters mother. This creating a perfect match up in contrast to the quiet, respectful unknown, Logan Yoon. (Later note, Ohara Davies took a turn to the more Zen at the press conference, but this isn't his story).
The work is done, and the time is for weigh ins. I've been through many weigh in's in my time. I've sat in bars, restaurants, arenas and hotels. Many filled with grumpy hungry fighters. Some of whom were still jogging in the parking lot. Some were soaking in Epsom salts baths trying to extract every last ounce of precious water in their body. This process for Logan was a smooth ride. Never having to shave off last minute pounds, never looking gaunt or sickly. If he was ever "hangry" he hid it well. It says something for the video game weight cut! The entire week he was always on track, and his body was a natural furnace.
Confirmed as main event the next and final task is to step into the ring and meet his opponent. As I was going through the fight images a story of bravery, and determination jumped out at me, more so than any fight I have ever photographed.
Below are just a few hand picked images that really stood out as a prime example of a definition of a fighter.
Before the fighter steps into the ring he prepares himself, he walks out with his game face on. As he enters the ring pure electricity fills the atmosphere. Fight fans are curious of this unknown from America who dares to step to their home fighter. Introductions are complete, Logan stays composed and pays respects to the corners.
First fighters try to figure each out, there is always the first round awkwardness. Once Davies finds an opening he uses it to his full advantage. Although Yoon takes some big hits. His determination is un-phased, and he keeps his laser like focus, and finds an opening on Davies. Frustrating Davies enough at one point that Yoon finds himself in a headlock under Davies elbow.
Each fighter has found each others opening. They continue to use this opening, but it was Davies who's shots were most effective. Between rounds 7 and 8, coach motioned over the referee to stop the fight. It was as at this point the corner decided for Logan's safety that the blows were just too much. It's not often that a fight's end comes with such dignity. Both fighters received approbation from the crowd.
In the end a bruised but quickly healing Logan took away a learning experience. There are no losses, only lessons. Always moving forward is more important, and luckily turning 21 is also on his side. Being so young with now a record of 16-1 is praiseworthy .
We will see them back in action again soon in 2020.