Asia

'Defector Girl Boxer' fights for South Korea

Published 5:10 AM ET, Fri September 26, 2014
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Choi Hyun Mi started training as a boxer in North Korea at the age of 11. She defected with her family to South Korea in 2004. She's now 23 years old. KJ Kwon/CNN
She says while South Korean boxers may have the upper hand in technique, North Korea emphasizes athletes' mental strength. KJ Kwon/CNN
Choi, who defended her world featherweight title for the 7th time, says the biggest challenge now is finding the right sponsor. KJ Kwon/CNN
Choi said her rivals in North Korea fought to win extra food and money. She said she fought to win as her father was a relatively wealthy businessman in Pyongyang. KJ Kwon/CNN
She said athletes who lost would be subject to punishment. "There is a thing called 'ideological conflicts' where you are forced to stand up in front of a crowd in North Korea and everyone condemns you," she said. KJ Kwon/CNN
Choi's family isn't as wealthy in South Korea, which has added extra urgency to her attempts to find a sponsor. KJ Kwon/CNN