My Lovely Boxer – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Hee-won’s Mess

My Lovely Boxer episode 1 starts with a few people doing an interview about a former boxing champion. They hail that she was a legendary boxer. The scene cuts to the boxing ring where Estomata stands, ready to take on his next opponent. He is said to be the next Mohammed Ali and has legions of fans shouting his name. 

His next opponent turns out to be a young lady, Lee Kwon-sook. Everyone is surprised to see her and immediately undermines her. This is, until she knocks out Estomata, and they gasp in shock and awe. She coolly walks off the stage as journalists struggle to take her pictures.  She progresses to be one of the best female boxers in Korea and ends up winning the gold medal in the Asian Games. The media nickname her Genius boxer as she continues to prove herself in the boxing ring. 

They even do a documentary on her as she prepares to win the gold medal in the Olympics.  She later wins the gold medal, and every Korean is proud of her. After the Olympics, the media wanted to know her next goal. Her dad, Chul-yong, who is also her coach, announced she would be going for the championship. He didn’t ask or give her a chance to choose her path.  

Currently, we meet Tae-young, who is working on one of his clients’ advert deals. He got his client, Kim Min-se, a boxed meal deal. Min-se is not sure the boxed meal is something he would like to venture into, but Tae-young won’t have it. He insists that Min-se is getting old and should consider his financial future. Tae-young sees the big picture even if his client doesn’t. For him, money is one of the driving factors, and his motto is to grab it while you can!

Young-Ae, his boss, thinks that Tae-young is like an undertaker. She asks about Kwon-sook, but Tae-young refuses to recruit her. Young-Ae wants him to find her and convince her to return to the boxing ring. We learn that Kwon-sook disappeared on the day of her championship signing ceremony. She was supposed to fight against Han A-reum, the reigning champion.

No one knows what happened, but most assume she decided to retire. However, most sports agencies, including Sports & Passion, are trying to find her and get her back into the ring. She has been gone for three years, and people still refer to her as the idol of boxing. Tae-young seems to be the only one not interested in finding her. As he leaves Young-Ae’s office, Soo-Yeon arrives. 

She is angry about Tae-young poaching one of her clients. She points out that Tae-young has a reputation among his colleagues for being a dog. Young-Ae gossips with Soo-yeon about the current tribulations of Tae-young. The scene cuts to Tae-young driving while talking on the phone. He seems pissed about one of his clients, who is always causing trouble. He advises the client’s dad to avoid talking to the media or anyone else but him. 

We later see him paying a patient at the hospital and encouraging them to sign an NDA. It turns out his client beat up a colleague for no good reason. Tae-young also ends up paying a journalist, Kyung-soo, some hush money. Surprisingly, he only pays him one dollar.

After this, he heads to the stadium to see another client, Hee-Won. Hee-Won is probably the only client Tae-young is close to. They have known each other since high school and were on the same baseball team. Tae-young is saddened to see Hee-won sitting on the benches. He confronts the coach, asking why Hee-won is not starting the game even though he bribed him to give his friend a chance. 

The coach claims he wants Hee-won to start the next game but first invites Tae-young for some drinks before that. It is clear that Tae-young has a deep relationship with Hee-won. Through a flashback, we learn it was their dream to be in the same baseball team and win games together. They even had a nickname for each other. Unfortunately, that plan went array, and here we are now. 

Tae-young meets with the coach for drinks and is surprised to see a new face joining them. The coach introduces the man as Kim O-bok. Mr Kim is allegedly there to help Hee-won out of his rut. He suggests using Hee-won to fix games and make money through his private sports gambling company. Tae-young throws a fit after hearing this since he knows it is illegal. 

He is about to leave when the coach mentions that this was Hee-won’s idea. He sits back to hear the whole plan but is still against it. He argues that Hee-won’s legacy will be destroyed if such plans come to light. He already knows the reputation of the gambling company and believes it is bad news. Even though the coach insists that Hee-won wants to do this and wants Tae-young’s permission, the latter is adamant it can’t be. 

He leaves and meets with Hee-won, who is still training. He reminisces about the good old days when they were young and had promise.  After watching Hee-won practice, Tae-young asks him to retire. He believes ending things on a high note is better than getting into bed with Mr. Kim. Hee-woon feels Tae-young is dismissing him since he is no longer worthy. He fails to see Tae-young’s point and leaves angry at his friend. 

The next day, Tae-young is still pondering the Hee-won incident when he runs into Young-Ae, who brings up Kwon-sook again. He then gets a call from Soo-yeon asking why he didn’t mention that Hee-won is starting the day’s game. Tae-young is surprised because that was not the agreement he had with Hee-won. It also means he is moving forward with his plan with Mr. Kim. He heads to the stadium and watches Hee-won play the game. 

Hee-won changes his mind after seeing his son watch him. He decides to win the game instead of losing; as expected, this doesn’t go well. The change of plan causes Mr. Kim to lose money, and he is not forgiving. Tae-young waits for Hee-won to say goodbye to his family before confronting him. He is curious about what led Hee-won to this decision. 

Hee-won admits that he’s broke because his son is sick. His son has a rare condition, and it will take at least half a million to treat him in America. Hee-won confesses that he tried telling Tae-young about the situation but was always busy.

Tae-young feels guilty, especially after Hee-won brings up the botched American deal. Hee-won believes he wouldn’t be in this position if he had signed the deal. Tae-young argues that the deal was a mess, and Hee-won fell apart. It turns out Hee-won started drinking, got injured and refused to take time off to recuperate. Now, he is in pain but still has to work to get his son treated. 

They argue back and forth about who is in the wrong, and Tae-young promises to handle the matter. He meets with Mr Kim and makes a deal with him. He asks Mr. Kim to pay for Hee-won’s son’s treatment and let Hee-won go. In return, he promises to take full responsibility and refund the money. Mr Kim is surprised by Tae-young’s demands. Tae-young claims he is doing this because he is Hee-won’s agent, but we all know there is more to it than that.

Mr Kim insists his dad won’t accept this, and his men drug Tae-young. They later dump him in a bathtub in his house. Tae-young wakes up in a frenzy, trying to decipher his location. He gets a call from Mr. Kim and sees the loan contract they left behind. Tae-young has to pay 2.5 million; there is also a photo of his mom.  

The following morning, a podcast talks about the disappearance of Kwon-sook and tries to theorise what happened. Young-Ae starts making moves to find her before anyone else does. She is hoping Tae-young will take the task and find her.  Among the people actively looking for Kwon-sook are Soo-yeon and Reporter Kyung-soo. 

In the meantime, Tae-young visits his mom, fearing she is in trouble.  He sleeps at her place but is too embarrassed to say he has money problems. He decides to team up with Reporter Kyung-soo to find Kwon-sook. They start by looking for her at her father’s restaurant, but she is not there. They advance their investigation further and dig into an online forum about Kwon-sook. Tae-young dedicates himself to investigating every viable lead, which finally pays off. 

It turns out Kwon-sook turned her life around and became a teacher at a kindergarten. The students there love her, but no one knows about her past. She is trying to do normal things for girls her age, like dating, but it is not going well. Her first blind date turns out to be a jerk. Luckily, Tae-young shows up just in time to save her. He drags her away from her date, and she willingly tags along. 

The episode ends with Tae-young admitting he knows her and refers to her as Lee Kwon-sook even though she changed her name to Lee Hyu-ri.

The Episode Review

Well, we are one episode in, and it is looking good. We get to learn more about the main characters, mostly Tae-young. He is reputed to be cold, calculating and money-hungry, but that is just a facade.

He is caring and wants the best for his clients. The rift may come because he makes plans with the bigger picture when his clients want to hold on to their glory days for as long as they can. He had no reason to take responsibility for Hee-won’s mistake, but it is a done deed. 

Will he be able to convince Kwon-sook to come back to the boxing ring? How will he do it? She seems content and peaceful in her new life.


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