Hong Man Choi: The Techno Goliath Kickboxer From Korea

Hong Man Choi: The Korean Giant Fighter

Combat sports are full of spectacles and few have been as big as the Korean giant Hong Man Choi. The Techno Goliath has done it all from fighting in every combat sport to being a rapper and entertainer.

Here is a synopsis of the fighting career of the Korean giant Hong Man Choi. Read everything below about Choi’s extensive fighting career, military service, and time as a Korean entertainer.

Birth Name:Choi Hong-man
Date of Birth:October 30, 1980
Place of Birth:Jeju, South Korea
Native Name:최홍만
Nicknames:The Techno Goliath, Korean Colossus, Che Man
Nationality:South Korean
Height:2.18 m (7 ft 2 in)
Weight:159.5 kg (352 lb; 25 st 2 lb)
Division:Super Heavyweight
Style:MMA, Kickboxing, Ssireum

Hong Man Choi’s Childhood & Discovering Martial Arts 

Hong Man Choi Fight

Choi Hong-man(Hong Man Choi) was born into a modest family in the South Korean city of Jeju City. Growing up, he faced challenges due to his incredible size. 

Being a giant Korean, Hong Man Choi stood out and got a lot of attention. Surprisingly, Choi was bullied in junior high despite his large size.

He opened up a little about that experience in 2012 on the Korean talk show No Comment. “When I was in junior high, I was an average student, who loved to dance and be stylish. The popular kids didn’t like me, so they used to hit me.”

His large size led him to develop a passion for sports. Due to his height, Choi got involved with basketball. He would then get into Korean martial arts, where he developed a talent and began competing.

Choi’s Ssireum Fighting Career 

The first combat sport that Hong Man Choi entered was the Korean wrestling style known as ssireum. Due to his large size, Choi excelled at the is form of wrestling.

In 2003, Choi was ranked as the top heavyweight in ssireum wrestling. At the ssireum world championship, he beat his rival Younghyun Kim to win the title.

READ MORE:  Military Martial Arts From Around The World

This was(at the time) the most watched ssireum match in the history of the sport until their next match. The two rivals would meet the following year in 2004, where Kim won the rematch.

This ssireum match broke the world record for the largest mass between two competitors. Between Choi and Kim they were at a combined weight and height of 757 lbs(343.3 kg) and 14 ft 3 in(4.35 m).

Hong Man Choi’s K-1 Kickboxing Debut

After accomplishing everything he could within ssireum, Choi would transition over to kickboxing. The giant allegedly holds a 2nd degree black belt in taekwondo to go along with being a champion Korean wrestler.

Already being a star in Korea, fans sold out the arena in Seoul to see Choi make his K-1 kickboxing debut. This was the first time an international audience got to see the Korean giant and they were blown away.

The Techno Goliath made quite a debut in his home country of South Korea. He knocked out Japanese fighter Wakashoyo in the first round. 

Choi then met sumo legend Akebono, who was also transitioning into kickboxing. Hong Man Choi would win the first of many meetings against Akebono with a first round TKO stoppage.

Then in his third and final fight of the night, Choi beat former Thai champion Kaoklai Kaennorsing by decision. Winning the K-1 World Grand Prix in his home country of South Korea.

Hong Man’s K-1 Career Until 2008

After winning the tournament, Choi became an instant international combat sports star. The Techno Giant would continue on what would be the biggest winning streak of his kickboxing career.

Choi would KO Tom Howard in his next match and beat Akebono again in their second meeting. This win set him up with a huge match against kickboxing superstar Bob Sapp.

In this bout, Choi would get the majority win over Sapp and move his pro kickboxing record to 6-0. His undefeated streak would end in his next bout as he lost a decision to K-1 legend Remy Bonjasky. Knocking him out of the 2005 K-1 Grand Prix.

Despite this loss, Hong Man went on another 3-fight winning streak. During this winning streak, Choi earned the biggest win of his career over the legendary Semmy Schilt.

READ MORE:  Military Martial Arts From Around The World

The Techno Giant then went on a losing streak losing to kickboxing legend Jerome Le Banner and Mighty Mo. Despite the losses, Choi would win his next three fights which included Gary Goodridge and a rematch with Mo.

Unfortunately for Hong Man Choi, he would drop three fights before his hiatus that included Banner(again), Badr Hari, and Ray Sefo.

Choi’s Early MMA Career 

Hong Man Choi Face off

Around the time, Hong Man Choi was becoming a star in K-1, the promotion also began running MMA shows. Being one of the promotion’s biggest stars, he began getting offers to fight in MMA.

Choi won his pro MMA debut by 1st round TKO against Bobby Olgun. For his next two bouts, Choi would basically be thrown to the wolves. 

He suffered two TKO losses in a row against MMA legends Fedor Emilianenko and Mirko Cro-Cop.

In 2009, before Hong Man Choi went on his hiatus from fighting, he entered the Dream Super Hulk Grand Prix. This tournament of odd attractions had Choi matched up in the first round against former baseball player Jose Canseco.

The former baseball star had little to no formal fighting training and was beaten in the first minute by Choi. In the second round of the tournament, Choi lost by submission to Japanese MMA star and pro wrestler Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa.

It would be six years before we saw Hong Man Choi compete again.

Hong Man’s Military Service & Health Scare 

In 2009, Choi took a hiatus from fighting to complete his mandatory military service in South Korea. The giant oddly failed two military physicals before entering, which sent him to see doctors.

It was revealed that Choi’s vision was being affected by a tumor. The tumor was removed June 9th, 2009 and Choi completed his mandatory military service.

Hong Man Choi: The Rapper & Entertainer 

For a six year period from 2009 to 2015, Choi went on a hiatus from fighting. During this time, the Techno Giant pursued careers as an entertainer and singer.

His career as a singer began a year prior as became a duo with Korean model Kang Su-hee. The duo would go by the name Beauty & The Beast and make one album together.

READ MORE:  Military Martial Arts From Around The World

Choi’s first job during his hiatus from fighting was making his film debut in the Japanese movie Goeman. His next venture would be TV as he co-starred in the Japanese series Kaibutsu-kun.

Along with these ventures into acting and singing, Choi would also make various appearances on reality and talk shows. He was also the spokesman for different brands, like Lotte’s Ice Cream.

Choi’s Return to MMA

In 2015, Hong Man Choi would make his return to fighting in 2015. Many fight critics believed the long layoff would affect the Techno Giant negatively and they were right.

Choi would lose his return to MMA by first round KO against Carlos Toyota at Road FC 24. Despite that loss, Hong Man won his next two bouts with Road.

The last MMA match of his career would be a rematch against Mighty Mo at Road FC 033 under MMA rules. Choi suffered a vicious knockout, which would be the subsequent end of his MMA career.

Choi’s Return to Kickboxing

In 2016, Hong Man Choi would also make his return to kickboxing, where he had more success. Just like in his MMA debut, the effects of the long layoff were apparent.

Choi lost his return to kickboxing in 2016 against Chinese kickboxer Zhou Zhipeng in China. Hong Man bounced back in his next bout, but dropped the last 2 kickboxing bouts of his career. His last match took place in 2019, where he lost by KO in under a minute.

Where is Hong Man Choi Now? 

Since Hong Man Choi’s last fight in 2019, he quietly made an exit from professional fighting. In his years after fighting, Choi chose a life away from the spotlight to try other things.

After ending his fighting career, Hong Man has now shifted his focus to his many business ventures. Despite being done with fighting, Choi will still make appearances in various TV programs.

What is the Legacy of Hong Man Choi?

Hong Man Choi wasn’t the best fighter ever, but the Techno Goliath was one you always watched. Anytime Choi stepped into the cage or squared-circle, people tuned in to see him. 

Choi fought various legends in combat sports and had a style and big personality all his own. We were always entertained watching Hong Man fight and appreciated him as a fighter and entertainer.