Jeremy Stephens vs Dooho Choi aftermath.
With the battle between Jeremy Stephens and Dooho Choi in the books, it’s time to take a moment to consider a few things. Firstly, let’s just acknowledge how much of a beast Jeremy Stephens is. He was able to take out a young and tough fighter, a man Cub Swanson couldn’t knock out in three rounds, and get the job done with in two frames. While Dooho Choi showcased some evolution, it’s still clear that improvements need to be made to his game. So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The first round answered quite a few questions about both fighters. The first thing I noticed was Dooho Choi’s willingness to use kicking attacks. Rather than simply box, Choi was favoring a chopping low kick that actually did some pretty good damage to Stephens’ front leg. Over and over again Choi targeted the same spot on Stephens’ calf, ironically an attack “Lil’ Heathen” used to dominate his last fight. Choi’s piston right crosses started to make an appearance as he wore down Stephens’ front leg and handily took the first round.
So how the hell do Jeremy Stephens work his way back into the fight?
Power and pressure.
Yes, power can be a double-edged sword for a fighter. When you have power it’s very easy to fall in love with it and rely on it to get you out of any bind. But if you know when to use that power you can truly become a force to be reckoned with.
Stephens switched gears in the second round and put pressure on Choi to regain some footing. Stephens’ pressure made it hard for Choi to set up strikes as he likes to control the tempo of the fight with his feints and jab. Waiting on the leg kick, Stephens began to take every opportunity to counter Choi, hitting him with several clean blows that forced the “Korean Superboy” onto his heels. Once a fighter tastes the power of Stephens it seems they can’t help but be put on the back foot. Taking away Choi’s space was paramount to success and that’s exactly what Stephens did in the second round. Without the time and distance to work, Choi found himself on the retreat with not much to offer the pressuring Stephens.
With the kind of power Stephens possesses it’s foolish to stand right in the pocket with him and trade blows. Choi chose to retreat rather than engage, but that sent a message to Stephens: “This kid doesn’t throw anything when backing up.” It would appear the same issues that cost Choi the Cub Swanson fight would once again rear its head in this match. Choi still can’t fight backing up and that is quickly becoming a big issue, one that needs to be handled if he wishes to get into title contention.
With the momentum in his favor, Stephens continued to push forward unafraid of counters from the retreating Choi and landed a blistering overhand right the signaled the beginning of the end. All in all, It was a great showcase for both fighters and a great learning lesson for Choi in particular. Being great going forward is certainly a strong skill and will win you a great many fights. But being able to move backwards and strike effectively will open up your game in a multitude of different ways.
For Jeremy Stephens this fight once again showed that he isn’t done evolving and that his vast experience can bolster him even when he’s down on the cards. His willingness to adapt and switch gears is something that was lacking in some of his previous fights and he appears to still be finding new wrinkles to his game. What comes next is anyone’s guess, but a Brian Ortega match up isn’t out of the question.
What’s next for Jeremy Stephens and Dooho Choi?