Actress Lee Si-young beat Kim Da-som by a 22-20 decision in the women's 48-kg category to win the National Amateur Boxing Championships in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province on Wednesday.
As the competition also served as a tryout for the national boxing squad, she is now entitled to represent Korea at international competitions.
In January, Lee officially joined the boxing team of Incheon City to take up the sport as a second career. But she struggled to find time to train as she juggled boxing and acting. Recently, she starred in the movie "How to Use Guys with Secret Tips," which hit cinemas in February.
She had to lose 1.5 kg to make weight for her latest bout but ended up injuring one of her knees, which meant she was unable to maintain her training program, Lee said.
Early in the fight Lee took several hits to her face from Kim, who is 12 years her junior. But as the bout progressed, Lee found her rhythm and the tide turned to her advantage. Lee lost the first round 2-4 but clawed her way back in the second and used her reach advantage in the third and final round to clinch the fight.
"I'm honored to join the national team," Lee said afterwards. "I will continue to work as an actress but I'll also devote more time and energy to boxing as there is barely enough time to prepare for the National Sports Festival in October and the Asian Games tryouts in December."
As neither tournament includes her weight category, Lee will move up to the heavier flyweight class (51 kg).