Q and A with Jennifer Han
Jennifer Han, from El Paso, TX will travel to Haenam City, South Korea on March 16 for the final preparations before her March 23 fight against IFBA Champion Ji-Hye Woo for the IFBA Super Featherweight title. Han, a Korean-American, is living a lifelong dream fighting in her father’s home country.
IFBA.com did a quick Q and A two weeks before the fight to see how Han was feeling and check in on how her training is going.
IFBA: What are you most excited for?
Jennifer Han: I’m excited about going to Korea and fighting for a world championship. That’s the one goal I’ve been waiting for my whole professional career. I am so happy I get to do it in my father’s home country.
IFBA: What does it mean to you to fight in Korea?
JH: It’s just amazing. When I was younger, my dad would talk about fighting for the championship in Korea. I didn’t think it would actually happen. Just something my dad hoped for. For this to actually come true and for my dad to be able to be there for me – even if I had prayed, I wouldn’t have believed it to actually be possible. I am truly blessed.
IFBA: When was the last time you visited Korea?
JH: I was last there about 3 years ago for a week to visit my sick grandmother. She had cancer. That was the first time my dad had been back to Korea in 35 years. It was quite an experience.
IFBA: You still have family in Korea. What kind of support do you expect to get for this fight?
JH: My dad is coming with me to Korea. And some of my Korean family is making the trip. It’s about 5 hours from where they live outside Seoul to Haenam City. My aunts and uncles and cousins all want to come. I’m guessing about eight members of my close family will make the drive down.
IFBA: How is training going?
JH: I am training the hardest I have ever trained in my professional career. Great workouts. Great sparring. I’m training with Louie Burke, the best there is. My team has been great – really pushing it hard.
My brother (pro boxer Abie Han) is in training camp with me. We travel about an hour to get there each day to train with Louie, drive home and teach martial arts class and train again at night.
He fights April 5 in El Paso, so he can’t make it to Korea. He needs to focus on his match. He really wants to come see me, but he has to sacrifice and train for his upcoming championship fight.
When I get to Korea, my hard work will be winding down. Over there I just want to maintain my weight and do light workouts for the week before the fight to stay ready.
IFBA: Are you concerned with the change in culture and diet impacting your preparation?
JH: I’m half Korean and used to the food. I love the food. We have a small, but very close, Korean population in El Paso, so that won’t impact me at all. I’m really, really excited about visiting Heanam City. I’ve never been there before.
IFBA: What led you to get into boxing?
JH: My dad is a martial arts master. Me and my brothers and sisters all trained together and compete together and push each other in martial arts. Then I moved towards full contact kickboxing. From there, we moved into boxing because there was a lot of opportunity for me. If you win nationals as an amateur, you get to travel all over the world - which is amazing. Kickboxing and martial arts don’t always offer you that opportunity.
IFBA: What are your thoughts on your opponent, Ji-Hye Woo?
JH: I have only seen one video of her, but I’ve seen her stats. She’s been able to successfully defend her title several times in Korea. What I’ve seen of her, she can box and she likes to fight inside. We have a good strategy and we are prepared.
I know she is determined to successfully defend her title, but I’m determined to be the champion, so it’s going to be an awesome fight. I’ve never been more prepared for a fight in my life.
IFBA: What would it mean for you to become an IFBA champion?
JH: That would be amazing. My family keeps telling me, “If you win this, you’ll be the first ever world champion from El Paso.” All my brothers and sisters (all younger) all train together. For me to reach that high of a goal will just motivate them. Everybody has their struggles and sometimes my sisters have had their distractions. But this would motivate them to do whatever they want to do in life. It’s so important for me and my family and community. El Paso is fully supporting me for this fight. I’m going to do this.
IFBA: How will this fight be different compared to your previous matches?
JH: This is my first championship title fight. Woo is world-class competition. This is the next level. This is the highest I’m going to reach. I’m very honored to have this opportunity. I’m glad they choose me to be the one to fight her in Korea. I’m just excited and nervous and just want to show everyone what I’ve got.