“Your winner, by technical knockout: Seungju Andrew Kim.”
For fighters around the world, these words represent the culmination of a once childhood dream. To win by TKO in any mixed martial arts fight is perhaps one of the world’s most impressive feats. I can tell you this: I certainly wouldn’t want to step into a cage and risk having my face rearranged. But I do love to watch.
Friday night’s NFC 122 card was Andrew Kim’s chance to take his first steps into the rugged world of MMA. With his second-round technical knockout, via a powerful right hook that dropped and rendered his opponent, Lee Alarcon, unable to continue, the Georgia State student’s dream had come true.
Kim’s fight, in my eyes, is the very reason why so many of us gravitate towards combat sports. Whatever your opinion may about the barbaric nature, the stories we watch unfold before our eyes are often ones of adversity and the result of years upon years of hard work.
Not too long ago, Kim was watching Jackie Chan films in his Calgary, Alberta, Canada living room, unable to speak English. The movies inspired him. Before too long, Kim began training in mixed martial arts with his master, who he still keeps in contact with to the day.
On Friday, he raised his arms in triumph as a medal was placed around his neck, and his official National Fighting Championship record read 1-0. Kim had finally arrived.
The fight took place inside the Monday Night Brewing Garage, and kudos to them, because of the ambiance before, during and after the fights was, well, Vegas-like. A jazz band played tunes under chandelier lighting during the buildup to the fights, while guests enjoyed a range of casino tables — I cleaned house at the blackjack table, in case you were wondering.
After the first two fights, including an intense Muay Thai bout, went to decision, the fans inside the building were ready to see a stoppage. “Right Above It” by Lil Wayne played as Kim entered the cage and confidently stared down his opponent.
The first round was hardly a feel out, as both fighters came out swinging. While he was on the unfortunate end of a punch that knocked out a contact, momentarily halting the fight, Kim quickly began to exert his dominance over the first round. A knockdown signaled his intentions, as Kim mounted his opponent and began to exert his force with a plethora of body shots (NFC rules prevent fighters from punching an opponent in the face while on the ground). Kim was beginning to look like a true warrior.
The second round saw much of the same. Alarcon landed a few strong shots, but it was Kim who would stand the tallest. As his right hook struck the chin of Alarcon midway through the round, the crowd let out a cheer as the referee signaled the fight was over. Kim let out a mighty roar of approval as he embraced his American Top Team coaching staff. As far as he was concerned, he was on top of the world.