BUSAN, South Korea - South Korean Choi Ki-soo outclassed Palestinian boxer Munir Abukeshek on Friday to advance to the light heavyweight final at the Asian Games, but the resident of a West Bank refugee camp will still take home Palestine's first-ever medal at the Games.
Abukeshek was guaranteed a medal even before he stepped into the ring. The losers of the semifinals are each awarded bronze medals, while the winners go on to contest the gold and silver medals.
"I'm disappointed I couldn't do better," said Abukeshek, who was given two standing eight counts by the referee. "But I hope this does something for our nation. We have been in a miserable situation."
The 27-year-old Abukeshek said his training has been interrupted this year by fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinians at home. He left Askar refugee camp in Nablus five weeks before his first child was born to prepare for the Asian Games.
"It has been very difficult to train," Abukeshek said on Friday. "I can't just train at home and it's not possible to run outside of the camp."
Palestinian athletes are competing in 16 events at the Asian Games, which has drawn 44 countries from Japan to the Middle East.
Choi, who will face Uzbekistan's Ikrom Berdiev in the 81-kilogram final, overpowered Abukeshek, with the referee stopping the light heavyweight contest at 1:08 of the second round. The South Korean led 17-2 on points when the fight was stopped.
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