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'Who thinks they're the strongest?' 5 jaw-dropping fights in Physical: 100's 1-on-1 Death Matches

'Who thinks they're the strongest?' 5 jaw-dropping fights in Physical: 100's 1-on-1 Death Matches
Choo Sung-hoon and Kim Chun-ri's matches are a sight to behold.
PHOTO: Instagram/Choo Sung-hoon, Kim Chun-ri

Most contestants have an unshakeable confidence in their physique and skill, but when the immovable wall meets an unstoppable force, something's got to give.

In the latest episodes of Netflix's Physical: 100, the competitive variety show featured arena death matches, where individual competitors must face one another and come out on top.

The rules of the match are simple — two contestants must fight for a ball while a timer of three minutes ticks down. The person holding the ball at the end of three minutes wins the match.

However, things get interesting as the contestants who performed better in the previous round get to pick their opponents and the arena they intend to fight in, which is either a shallow muddy pool surrounded by sand or a jungle-gym-like area with obstacles on it.

And while some pick those clearly weaker than themselves, others fail to understand the depth of their strength or skill in comparison to other participants.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

'Out of the ones who are left, who thinks they're the strongest?'

South Korean YouTuber Park Joo-chang, better known as Bbulkup, was one of the few to make the mistake of overestimating themselves in the mano a mano competition.

In a pre-match interview, the 27-year-old opined: "This is a survival show, so there has to be some taunting. Everyone was acting shy, saying, 'Oh, ah. Hi, yes, sure. Uh…' — that's not manly at all."

When selecting his opponent, he announced: "Out of the ones who are left, who thinks they're the strongest? Who wants to fight me? Who thinks they're very tough?"

While many appeared surprised by his confidence, mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and AFC Welterweight Champion Kim Sang-wook called his bluff and took him up on his challenge.

"When he taunted us, it was more boring than taunting," Sang-wook shared on the show. "He doesn't know what being strong is, so I should teach him a lesson."

On the obstacle-filled arena, the tables were turned as Sang-wook taunted Bbulkup instead, toying with the ball in front of the YouTuber.

Ultimately, Bbulkup couldn't compete against the MMA champion and lost to the latter's constant outmanoeuvering on the field.

"Please make Physical: 100 season two," Bbulkup said in a post-match interview. "If I don't move up in that either, then let's go for season three."

'Goddess of the sand arena'

In Physical: 100, contestants were able to pick opponents of the opposite gender, although few did.

Park Min-ji, who introduced herself as the "goddess of the sand arena", is a ssireum wrestler — she decided to try her hand against rugby player Jang Seong-min, also known as the "rugby world's Don Lee".

"I've never thought I'm weak," Min-ji said. Chuckling, she added: "It feels worse to lose to men, strangely. 

"I won't have it if you look down on me for being a woman. Take me on and you'll get a beating."

While contestants applauded her for picking an opponent that was both of the opposite sex and larger than her, she might have underestimated just how strong her opponent was.

In the sand arena of her choice, she was in her element — but so was the 30-year-old Seong-min.


Min-ji had her hands on the ball first and avoided Seong-min's prying hands with fast hand movement and footwork, but Seong-min's stronger physique took control as he grabbed Min-ji by her arm and leg and lifted her in a fireman's carry.

Speaking of her experience in the ring with Seong-min, she questioned: "Was I this easy to carry? Not many people can lift me up so easily."

Although Min-ji managed to use skill and strength to overpower and knock Seong-min into the water, Seong-min eventually ended up with the ball in his hands and his rugby instincts were on clear display.


In the last few seconds of the match, Seong-min kept Min-ji at an arm's length away with the classic rugby fending, cradling the ball in one arm and pushing the approaching Min-ji away with the other.

In post-match interviews, Seong-min said: "I think I fell for her as a fan because she's a really cool and awesome person and the match was really great."

On her loss, Min-ji said: "If you did your best, you accept the outcome. That's sportsmanship. It was a match that I do have regrets about — next time, I'll try with a better body."

The better body?

Although most contestants for the show are at peak physique, the way their bodies and muscular structure develop can differ quite drastically.

Freestyle wrestler Nam Kyung-jin, 34, who, instead of looking like a statue of a Greek god like some other competitors, appears stocky and made of hard muscle.

"My muscles are for real-life action, so however big or muscly someone is, well, I think I can beat anybody," Kyung-jin said with confidence.


Up for a challenge, Kyung-jin said he wanted to choose someone bigger or stronger than him as his opponent, and he decided on prison guard Park Jung-ho.

Jung-ho towers over most participants at 1.9m tall, but height isn't his only feature.

Having served as a guard for 17 years and counting, he's overseen some of South Korea's most notorious criminals, including Robin Hood-like Sin Chang-won, and serial killers Yoo Yung-chul and Kang Ho-sun.

Due to his close proximity to dangerous criminals, he's crafted an incredibly sculpted body for himself "to defend himself and protect other inmates" and have the "ability to make inmates submit".

But unexpectedly, once they were in the sandy arena, Jung-ho — perhaps taking inspiration from how inmates hide away their illegal items — decided to throw the ball on the top of a concrete beam above their heads, out of reach of Kyung-jin.


While other contestants felt this was a clever move on Jung-ho's part, the referee said otherwise and handed the ball to Kyung-jin.

And Kyung-jin showed exactly why he's remained a wrestler for 20 years, and why 12 of those years were spent on the South Korean national team.

Taking full control of the match, Kyung-jin dominated Jung-ho in a powerful display of skill and strength.

He swept the giant Jung-ho off his feet, folding him in half and tossing him around the sandy arena with tackles and even a German suplex. 

As the match neared its end, Kyung-jin, who was keeping Jung-ho pinned to the dirt, shot up and sprinted for the ball. Jung-ho attempted to do the same, but was a beat too slow and ultimately lost.

"That's scary, wrestling is scary," a spectating contestant said.

Another agreed: "He was the scariest in Taereung too."

Taereung is South Korea's first National Training Centre, located in Seoul.

'He shows zero mercy'

With the enormous cash prize dangling over their heads, it's expected that contestants can get a bit brutal, if not merciless.

MMA fighter Park Hyung-geun's will to win definitely presented itself in his match against bodybuilder and coach Kim Chun-ri, albeit in a manner some contestants might have found unpleasant.

Having picked a woman to go up against, Hyung-geun already stirred some discussion among other participants. However, it was his treatment of Chun-ri in the match that really stood out.


Entering the sandy arena, Hyung-geun did a respectful bow — but the pleasantries stopped there.

Walking towards his opponent with a thin smile and hands in his pockets, Hyung-geun then grappled Chun-ri.

Up against an MMA fighter with fight experience, Chun-ri's chiseled body proved useless as she failed to sweep the legs of Hyung-geun. Instead, the latter reversed her sweep and slammed Chun-ri to the ground.

As they tossed and turned on the sand, the camera zoomed in on Hyung-geun's face — he had a toothy grin, likely enjoying himself.

He then found leverage and pressed his knee on Chun-ri's stomach, pinning her to the ground.

Spectators could be heard discussing this act, with one commenting that the pressure on Chun-ri's stomach would prevent her from breathing.

One female contestant jeered: "That's no fun, that's no fun!"

In response, Hyung-geun stood up and released Chun-ri, but also turned and faced the jeering contestant and other women beside her.

Staring at them, he drew a line across his lips with pinched fingers, motioning for them to 'zip it'.

The women, visibly put off by his rude gesture, could only stare back.

"What's with this guy?" Jang Eun-sil, a female wrestler, said. Later, she added: "His gaze felt threatening, it gave me chills."

Hyung-geun then caught Chun-ri again, slamming her back into the dirt once more.

After a quick utterance of "I'm sorry", he again pressed his knee into Chun-ri, this time onto her chest.

Looking up at the group of women again, he motioned for them to 'zip it' once more.

The other contestants looked on, cheering completely ceased, and one commented: "Wow, he's really merciless."

Another agreed and said: "He shows zero mercy."


The referee stepped in to break the two up, handing Chun-ri the ball. However, Chun-ri tossed the ball aside and opted to grapple Hyung-geun again.

Hyung-geun, who picked up the ball, eventually won the match.

"Everyone in this environment wants to survive and win. I came here to win," he said in a post-match interview.

His aggressiveness might have cost him in the subsequent round in episode four, where the 50 remaining contestants were grouped into 10 teams of five. Although he's proven himself to be a very strong contestant, at least three team captains chose not to have him in their team and he had to join the last team of "stragglers".

A challenge with respect

While Hyung-geun and Chun-ri's match was one-sided with the former's attitude being possibly unsportsmanlike, the match between Choo Sung-hoon and Shin Dong-guk was the complete opposite.

Sung-hoon, also known as Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama, is a 47-year-old MMA fighter and a fourth-generation Japanese of Korean descent.  


He's made a name for himself with the accolades he's won for both South Korea and Japan, and the fact that he's still participating in MMA matches at his age is a wonder to behold.

No doubt his decorated past and current tenacity and skill are part of the reason that he's earned the respect of many other contestants in Physical: 100.

Dong-guk, a firefighter and MMA fighter, had respectfully approached Sung-hoon and asked politely for a match.

"You're someone I really look up to," he said. "When else would I get the chance to [fight you]?"

And when they stepped into the obstacle-filled arena, Dong-guk offered a proposal.

"It would be rude of me to challenge a great and respected senior to a game with a ball. I'd like to fight you as an MMA fighter according to the MMA rules."

Speaking in a post-match interview, Sung-hoon later said: "I thought, 'He's a real man', so I accepted it."

The two men squared off against each other in the arena and approached cautiously, both using open-hand techniques, possibly because closed fists weren't allowed in the fight.

As they grappled for leverage, the skin on Dong-guk's back quickly showed bright-red handprints from Sung-hoon's palm strikes.

Eventually, Sung-hoon overpowered his younger opponent and brought him to the ground. They quickly recovered and returned to the centre of the arena — but Sung-hoon had his eyes on the prize as the clock ticked down.

With seconds left to spare, Sung-hoon, strategically placing himself over the ball, dived for it, and Dong-guk was too slow to take it from him.


The match over, both fighters knelt and bowed to each other, expressing their respect.

Dong-guk shared after the match: "Wow, it was such an honour, I'm so grateful!"

Sung-hoon said that he was grateful for the fight with Dong-guk, adding: "It was a great fight. I wish him all the best, and if we ever meet again somewhere in the future, I'd like to have a rematch."


Singaporean actress Elaine Wong was unfortunately eliminated by fitness YouTuber Shim Eu-ddeum in the Death Matches. 

Physical: 100 is available on Netflix with two new episodes released every Tuesday. 

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