It was April 25, 1996, the founding anniversary of the KPA.
In the morning Kim Jong Il was planning an inspection trip to an army unit on the front line. He told the officials that in order to celebrate the anniversary with the service personnel they should prepare some food and have an art troupe accompany them.
At the news of a visit by the Supreme Commander and the renowned Korean People’s Army Merited Chorus (the then name), the service personnel rejoiced.
Upon arriving at the unit, Kim Jong Il warmly congratulated them on the anniversary and enquired about their schedule for the day.
They had arranged sports competitions, a boxing match in particular, because they thought that it would demonstrate the unit’s combat efficiency and the soldiers’ courage.
Kim Jong Il sat together with the officers of the unit to watch the match.
Amid loud cheers two robust, agile soldiers made a fierce fight in the ring, pushing and grappling with each other.
The match reached its height, when Kim Jong Il said quietly to an officer of the unit, “That is enough. Go and tell them to stop the match.”
Dumbfounded by this order, the officer rose up hesitantly.
Kim Jong Il explained: I am afraid that the soldiers might be exhausted. They should relax themselves on this holiday and I do not want to see their bleeding, swollen faces. Boxing is no fun on a holiday.
According to his instructions, the boxing match stopped and recreational games began.