130-Pound Champ Choi Dangerously Close To Being An Afterthought

Is Choi Truly Intent on Unifying the Junior Lightweight Division?

Hyun Mi Choi embraces her title as Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner celebrate wins
(clockwise from left) Hyun Mi Choi, Mikaela Mayer, Alycia Baumgardner | Credit: Korea Boxing Association, Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBA Champion Hyun Mi Choi is Deserving of Criticism


When it comes to the women’s junior lightweight division, WBA champion Hyun Mi Choi (19-0-1, 5 KOs)
is looking like a fighter out of place. On August 15, the 31-year-old defends the title against Japan’s Aka Ringo (3-0, 2 KOs) on the champion’s home turf of Seoul, South Korea.

Choi is boxing’s longest current world champion, winning the WBA belt in her pro debut in August 2008.
But despite her lengthy title reign, she is drawing increased pushback from pundits and fellow fighters.

Her upcoming fight with Ringo should be met with heavy cynicism. Ringo’s last bout took place at bantamweight. Her first two fights were against ladies making their professional debut, and her most recent win came against a fighter with a losing record. The challenger appears to be nowhere near Choi’s league.

When the champ signed a deal with Matchroom Promotions in November 2020, hopes were high. She stated her goal was to unify the division. So far, nothing of this sort has manifested. In fairness, Choi was a product of unfortunate luck when a scheduled May 2021 unification bout against then-WBC champ Terri Harper was canceled after Harper suffered a hand injury.

UNWILLING TO FIGHT THE BEST OF THE BEST?

But, here’s the pressing issue that’s cause for pause. Unified champion Mikaela Mayer and current WBC
champ Alycia Baumgardner attempted to make a fight with Choi in the last twelve months. Those attempts failed at the negotiation table. Mayer and Baumgardner put the responsibility at the feet of Choi’s handlers, claiming Team Choi negotiated in bad faith. Mayer and Baumgardner will instead fight each other in a highly anticipated unification grudge match on September 10.

These recent events and her questionable upcoming title defense are all bad signs. If Choi still hopes to unify at 130, there is still time. With a win against Ringo, she could proceed to face the Mayer v Baumgardner winner as early as this year, if not early 2023. However, things are not looking good and the champion is in danger of being ignored, bypassed, and viewed as an afterthought.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W. 1775 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.