Being named champion in a tournament held at the end of the year is a fantastic reward for 12 months' effort. The 2011 Boxing Championships was organised by the local boxing governing body, the Hong Kong Boxing Association, and nine finals were held at Pei Ho Street Sports Centre in Sham Shui Po on Sunday to crown the top boxers in different categories this year.
The junior boys' boxing final was a battle between So Ki-ho, representing his club Box For Fun, and Johnson Cheng Ka-chun, competing for Simon Yan Boxing Club.
This match had three two-minute rounds, with a minute's break between rounds. Although the two youngsters battled for only six minutes, the fight was both physically and mentally exhausting.
Ki-ho was the first to attack, but Johnson's defence was impressive. Both fighters were strong in the first two rounds. In the third, neither Ki-ho nor Johnson showed any sign of tiredness, and even increased the pace of the fight. But Ki-ho dominated. With only 30 seconds left in the match, he delivered a combination of punches to keep scoring.
It seemed clear who had won, but the pair still had to wait for the judges to count up the score before Ki-ho was named as the champion.
Despite the loss, Johnson, a 16-year-old Form Four student from Caritas St Joseph Secondary School, was amazed to have got so far in the tournament.
'I only started to train in August last year. I took it [boxing] up because I think boys look cool when fighting in the ring. It is amazing to be in this tournament and make it to the top two,' Johnson said.
'I haven't fought in many actual competitions, and I think I will improve after I have more experience.'
Despite his triumph, Ki-ho, 15, a Form Four student from PLK 1984 College, thinks he has room for improvement, too.
'I had three encounters with Johnson this year and I won them all,' Ki-ho said.
'Today's match was like the previous encounters - but I think I could have performed even better.'
This was the champion's fourth local title this year.
Ki-ho represented Hong Kong at an invitation tournament in Shenzhen earlier this year, where he won his first youth title beyond Hong Kong's borders. 'I look forward to fighting in overseas competitions in 2012 - but it is up to my coach,' he said.