Welcome back to Epic Hit of the Day! First up, have a bloody gorgeous counterparry, then I’ll give the backstory.
That’s a thing of beauty, right there. Tell me again about how the Koreans have bad bladework. No really, do go on.
On the left we have Tiberiu Dolniceanu. He is an incredibly competent and powerful fencer, probably the best all-rounder on the circuit. Everything about his game is clean, solid and well-executed. He’s been world #1 on several occasions and has won swathes of world cup medals. I watch his bouts when I’m having trouble sleeping, and they fill me with a soothing reassurance that some things are still right in the world.
On the right we have Chung Hojin, one of the new generation of Korean sabreurs trained by Lee Hyokun in Busan, following in the footsteps of Gu Bongil and, before him, Oh Eunseok. He’s very young and has developed remarkably just in the last twelve months, and is turning more and more into something really interesting, but he’s yet to break into of the world top 50 despite a couple of top-32 and top-16 finishes.
The two met in New York in the 32 and the first section of the bout went pretty much exactly as you’d expect: Dolniceanu was strong, confident, assured and curb-stomping the fast but jittery young Korean. Then Chung went off-script, abandoned the 4m, and pulled off a series of jaw-droppingly cocky fall-shorts, stop hits, and counterattacks.
Wait, that didn’t go according to plan. Try again.
Well that was horrible and traumatic. Better close the distance just a- OH WAIT
Angry now! More power! Big attack is big –
Right, dude, get your act together. He’s given up ROW again, just settle down into the march, you got this – FAIL
After that little performance, Chung led Dolniceanu staggering into the 8 point break with a two-point deficit.
After the break Chung returned to the 4m, and Dolniceanu got his act back together and tightened his attacks. Even got a lovely flunge in, as he likes to do.
He built back a solid lead, but the tension left both guys a bit jumpy and Chung wound up with a yellow for an early start. Then this happened:
If anyone can explain to me why it’s Chung who gets the card here, I’d appreciate it. The refereeing in this bout was excellent, but this just seems a little weird. Chung certainly did not appreciate it, and unleashed a can of weapons-grade whupass on the Romanian, starting with that magnificent parry at the top. God only knows how it would have turned out if he’d had more than one point left to lose.
That was a Gu Bongil attack on prep, right there. That footwork hurts. You don’t do that footwork unless you seriously want to mess someone up. Chung’s a pretty chilled out kid, but I think he was annoyed.
The whole match is available courtesy of Andrew Fischl at CyrusofChaos, to whom this sport owes a great debt. Seriously, the guy is the best. Go check out his page.