Choi Hong-man (Korean: 최홍만, Hanja: 崔洪萬; born October 30, 1980), often anglicised to Hong-man Choi, is a South Korean kickboxer, mixed martial artist, and former ssireum wrestler. In Asia, he is called "Che Man", "Techno Goliath", "Korean Monster" and "Korean Colossus". He won the 2005 K-1 Seoul Grand Prix beating Kaoklai Kaennorsing in the finals. He currently stands 2.18 m (7 ft 2 in) and weighs between 140 kg (310 lb) and 166 kg (366 lb).
Prepared for his kickboxing career by Korean K-1 fighter Choi Hong-man, he debuted in K-1 fighting at the World GP 2005 event in Seoul in March, 2005, which he won in the final vs. Kaoklai Kaennorsing. In the Final Elimination he defeated Bob Sapp with a 2–0 decision, eventually losing to Remy Bonjasky in the World Grand Prix Final.
He got his nickname "Techno Goliath" (테크노 골리앗) when he was a ssireum wrestler in South Korea, as after a victory he would dance to techno music. He is referred to on Japanese television and news articles as the 'Korean Monster' (コリアン・モンスター).
He started the season 2006 at the K-1 World GP in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision win over Sylvester Terkay aka "The Predator". His new coach was the former Japanese Korean K-1 fighter Kin Taiei (anglicised to Taiei Kin).
One of Choi's most notable fights was against current K-1 World Champion Semmy Schilt at the World GP 2006 event in Seoul. The fight was unique due to the enormous size and weight of both fighters (Schilt 2.12 m (6 ft 11 in) 128 kg (282 lb), Choi 2.16 m (7 ft 1 in) 161 kg (355 lb)). Choi won the fight by 2-0 decision, but it was a disputed win.
On September 30, 2006, Choi fought Jérôme Le Banner in the final eliminations, and lost after 3 Rounds and 1 extra Round on points. After the fight, Le Banner said: "He is dangerous, his knees are already almost at the level of my head, he's not human! But he's a good guy and I like him, he's very tough, maybe the strongest guy in K-1, and he has hard bones -- when I kicked him, it hurt my leg! I'm sure with more experience, in two years no one will be able to knock him out!"
On March 4, 2007, he was knocked out for the first time in his career. Mighty Mo landed his trademark overhand right to the chin and Choi was not able to stand up again. In this fight he weighed 165.4 kg (365 lb; 26 st 1 lb), was very slow and many say it was his worst performance.
On August 5. at the Asia World Grand Prix in Hong Kong, he beat Gary Goodridge by KO at 1:34 in the first round. He weighed 163.5 kg (360 lb; 25 st 10 lb), the same when he fought Schilt in June 2006. Notable on this fight was his stance. Since his K-1 debut in 2005, he has fought using an orthodox stance. However, in this fight, he adopted for the first time a Southpaw stance. This was a strategy by his coach Kin Tailei for an eventual re-match with Mighty Mo (to block his devastating overhand right better as in orthodox stance).
On September 29 at the K-1 Final Eliminations in Seoul, fighting southpaw stance again, he redeemed his previous loss and defeated Mighty Mo by decision. The win was disputed because Mo was able to land many hard hands on Choi´s head, while the Korean missed most of his shots. However, due to a kick Choi delivered to Mighty Mo's groin in the second round that was inexplicably ruled a knockdown. Mighty Mo was quoted in the post-fight interview: "He (Choi) seemed a little bit stronger because I hit him with some good shots and he didn't fall down so I was surprised, actually harder than the ones I hit him with before. He must have been practicing taking punches."
In the World Grand Prix Final 2007 tournament on December 8, he again lost by decision to Jérôme Le Banner. Choi was announced by Jimmy Lennon Jr. as weighing in at 166.6 kg (367 lb; 26 st 3 lb), to date his heaviest pre-fight weigh-in. In the post-fight Choi said: "He (Jérôme) has been my toughest opponent, who was able to resist my powerful punches and counter with speed, I admire his physical strength and I'm sure with more experience will be able to defeat him."
On September 27 at the K-1 final Elimination in Seoul, he came back to K-1 and fought against the current Heavyweight champion Badr Hari. After 3 rounds of fighting, Choi's corner threw in the towel due to a rib injury. Although Hari was unable to faze Choi with two heavy punches thrown in the first and second rounds, in the third round he began targeting Choi's ribcage with punches and kicks.
Since his last fight, Choi has lost much weight. He was announced with a weight of 149 kg (328 lb; 23 st 6 lb).
Choi was picked as a first reserve fighter against Ray Sefo at the 2008 K-1 Championship Finals which he lost by Unanimous decision.
Mixed martial arts career
On December 31, Choi fought his first mixed martial arts fight on K-1 Dynamite, facing former TV star Bobby Ologun, whom Choi outweighed by a large margin. Ologun charged and missed a flying kick, after which Choi dragged him to the center of the ring and punched him. As Ologun seemed to refuse to defend, the referee stopped the match in just 16 seconds with a win for the Korean.
Choi was scheduled to face former WWE, IWGP, and NCAA national champion amateur wrestler Brock Lesnar at the combined promotion event K-1 Dynamite!! USA, a pay-per-view event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, on June 2, 2007. However, reportedly due to a benign tumor on his pituitary gland, Choi was denied his California fighter's license on May 23, 2007, putting Dynamite!! USA's main event in jeopardy only 10 days before its scheduled occurrence. Choi was replaced in the fight by fellow Korean fighter Kim Min-soo.
He was confirmed to fight former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko at Yarennoka on New Year's Eve. Choi opened the fight landing on top of Fedor during a takedown attempt, after which the Russian attempted an armbar from the bottom to no avail. The sequence repeated itself, only the second time Fedor showed the difference in experience and locked the armbar, forcing Choi to tap at 1:54.
Choi fought again in Dynamite!! 2008, being scheduled to fight Mirko Cro Cop. The fight was longer, as Cro Cop, a fellow K-1 specalist, found difficult to strike against the larger Choi. He did land multiple low kicks through the round, which eventually caused enough damage for the fight to be stopped in a KO for Cro Cop.
Choi's next MMA match would be for the Dream promotion. He faced retired baseball player Jose Canseco in an MMA match on May 26, 2009 as part of its Super Hulk Tournament. Choi beat Canseco in 1 minute 17 seconds.
The Korean advanced to the semi-finals at Dream 11 and was pitted against Ikuhisa Minowa, a Japanese fighter familiar with large differences in size. Minowa resorted to creative takedown and guard pulls to bring the match to the mat, but Choi used his size and strength to shut down his gameplan. Eventually Minowa pinned Choi in side control and landed knee strikes, which the Korean answered to by landing some ground and pound later through Minowa's guard. At the next round, however, Minowa took Choi down and immediately locked a heel hook, making Choi submit.
Choi was expected to participate in Dream 14, which was supposed to have taken place in Seoul, South Korea. But many factors, including the issue that many top Korean stars such as Denis Kang and him (Choi) were not available in April, contributed to the event being canceled.
In July 2015, after 5 years and 9 months of inactivity in combat sport, he gave his comeback against Brazilian fighter Carlos Toyota, weighing 140 kg (310 lb), the lowest to this day. He lost via knockout in the first round (multiple punches to face and jaw). Toyota was the second fighter besides Mighty Mo who knocked out Choi with head punches.
In December 2015 he fought the Chinese Luo Quanchao and won by cut stoppage (TKO).
In April 2016, he fought the "Chinese" Aorigele, whom he defeated by knockout in round one. He was weighing 157 kg (346 lb)
In April 2008, Choi joined the Korean army for his 21 months military service. After failing two medical tests, he was relieved from his military duty. The main reason was a problem with the sight in his left eye, which was the result of a brain tumor. On June 9, the tumor was finally removed through surgery.
Outside the ring
Choi recently began a singing career with supermodel Kang Soo Hee in Korea under the name of Beauty & The Beast. He also made a rap single featuring vocals by the model Kang Soo Hee. In 2009, he made his movie debut in the Japanese film Goemon.
He has some Tattoos. His surname "Choi" on his left shoulder., on his left forearm the phrase "Secret of success is constancy to purpose“., on his chest "No Pain No Gain“.
In April 2010, Choi appeared as part of the main cast in Japanese TV drama series Kaibutsu-kun, adapted from Fujiko Fujio's Kaibutsu-kun of the same name. Choi played the character Franken, which was one of the three understudies of prince Kaibutsu-kun.
In April 2012 he appeared as a guest in the 19th episode of the Korean variety show Invincible Youth 2.
He has also done several endorsement works with actress / former model Karina. He has been a face for Lotte's ice cream product Mona Oh ('Monaka-King') alongside Karina. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch along with Karina at the Chiba Lotte Marines-Yomiuri Giants game in Chiba Marine Stadium on June 11, 2006. He has also done endorsement works for videogame LittleBigPlanet with Mari Yaguchi, a former member of the music group Morning Musume.
In March 2012, he made a special guest appearance in episode 2 and another on July 2012 in episode 17 of JTBC variety programme Shinhwa Broadcast hosted by boyband Shinhwa.
On September 08th and 15, 2013, he appeared in episodes 310 and 311 of the variety show 2 Days & 1 Night (KBS2) as a guest of regular cast-member Kim Jong-min.
On November 16, 2014, he appeared in episode 28 of reality show Roommate (SBS) as a guest along with female singer Hong Jin-young.
ON June 23, 2015, he appeared in episode 254 of variety show Running Man (SBS) as a guest and as well as a hunter for Running Man nametags.
Championships and Accomplishments
- 2005 K-1 World Grand Prix in Seoul Champion
Mixed Martial Arts
- 2009 DREAM Super Hulk Tournament Semifinalist
- Road Fighting Championship
- 2016 Road FC Openweight Tournament Runner Up
- 41st Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Championship in 2003
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|9 matches||4 wins||5 losses|
|Loss||4–5||Mighty Mo||KO (punch)||Road FC 033||September 24, 2016||1||4:06||Seoul, South Korea||Road FC Openweight Tournament Finals|
|Win||4–4||Aorigele||KO (punch)||Road FC 030: In China||April 16, 2016||1||1:36||Beijing, China||Road FC Openweight Tournament Semifinals|
|Win||3–4||Quanchao Luo||TKO (corner stoppage)||ROAD FC 027: In China||December 26, 2015||1||3:14||Shanghai, China||Road FC Openweight Tournament Quarterfinals|
|Loss||2–4||Carlos Toyota||KO (punch)||ROAD FC 024: In Japan||July 25, 2015||1||1:29||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||2–3||Ikuhisa Minowa||Submission (heel hook)||Dream 11||October 6, 2009||2||1:27||Yokohama, Japan||Dream Super Hulk Grand Prix Semifinal|
|Win||2–2||Jose Canseco||Submission (punches)||Dream 9||May 26, 2009||1||1:17||Yokohama, Japan||Dream Super Hulk Grand Prix QuarterfinalĒ|
|Loss||1–2||Mirko Cro Cop||TKO (leg kick)||Fields Dynamite!! 2008||December 31, 2008||1||6:32||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||1–1||Fedor Emelianenko||Submission (armbar)||Yarennoka!||December 31, 2007||1||1:58||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||1–0||Bobby Ologun||TKO (punches)||K-1 PREMIUM 2006 Dynamite!!||December 31, 2006||1||0:16||Osaka, Japan|
|Professional record breakdown|
|18 matches||12 wins||6 losses|
|Loss||12–7||Zhou Zhipeng||Decision (Unanimous)||Silk Road Hero Kickboxing||November 6, 2016||3||3:00||China|
|Loss||12–6||Ray Sefo||Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World GP Final 2008||December 8, 2008||3||3:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Loss||12–5||Badr Hari||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||K-1 Seoul GP 2008||September 29, 2008||3||3:00||Seoul, South Korea||K-1 WGP 2008 Final Eliminations|
|Loss||12–4||Jérôme Le Banner||Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World GP Final 2007||December 8, 2007||3||3:00||Yokohama, Japan||K-1 WGP 2007 1/4|
|Win||12–3||Mighty Mo||Decision (Majority)||K-1 Seoul GP 2007||September 29, 2007||3||3:00||Seoul, South Korea||K-1 WGP 2007 Final Elimination|
|Win||11–3||Gary Goodridge||KO (Knee Strike)||K-1 Hong Kong GP 2007||August 5, 2007||1||1:34||Hong Kong|
|Win||10–3||Mike Malone||KO (Strikes)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Hawaii||April 28, 2007||2||2:02||Hawaii, United States|
|Loss||9–3||Mighty Mo||KO (Right Overhand)||K-1 Yokohama GP 2007||March 4, 2007||2||0:50||Yokohama, Japan|
|Loss||9–2||Jérôme Le Banner||Ext.R Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Osaka Opening Round||September 30, 2006||4||3:00||Osaka, Japan||K-1 WGP 2006 Final Elimination|
|Win||9–1||Akebono||KO (Left Hook)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Sapporo||July 30, 2006||2||0:57||Sapporo, Japan|
|Win||8–1||Semmy Schilt||Decision (Split)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Seoul||June 3, 2006||3||3:00||Seoul, South Korea|
|Win||7–1||Sylvester Terkay||Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Las Vegas||April 29, 2006||3||3:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||6–1||Remy Bonjasky||Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005||November 19, 2005||3||3:00||Tokyo, Japan||K-1 WGP 2005 1/4|
|Win||6–0||Bob Sapp||Decision (Majority)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Osaka - Final Elimination||September 23, 2005||3||3:00||Osaka, Japan||K-1 WGP 2005 Final Elimination|
|Win||5–0||Akebono||TKO (Referee Stoppage)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Hawaii||July 29, 2005||1||2:52||Hawaii, United States|
|Win||4–0||Tom Howard||KO (Knee Strike)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Hiroshima||June 14, 2005||1||2:11||Hiroshima, Japan|
|Win||3–0||Kaoklai Kaennorsing||Ext.R Decision (Unanimous)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Seoul||March 19, 2005||4||3:00||Seoul, South Korea||K-1 Seoul GP 2005 Champion|
|Win||2–0||Akebono||TKO (Corner Stoppage)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Seoul||March 19, 2005||1||0:24||Seoul, South Korea||K-1 Seoul GP 2005 1/2|
|Win||1–0||Wakashoyo||KO (Left Hook)||K-1 World Grand Prix 2005 in Seoul||March 19, 2005||1||1:40||Seoul, South Korea||K-1 Seoul GP 2005 1/4|
|2013||KBS2||2 Days & 1 Night||Special guest, Ep. 310-311|
|2015||SBS||Running Man||Special guest, Ep. 254|
|2016||tvN||Hey Ghost, Let's Fight||(cameo)|