In June the Dangan team confirmed the long rumoured OPBF Light Welterweight title bout, between champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] and Korean challenger Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범]. Although they announced it for August 15th, it has slipped back to September 5th to be part of a double header card, "Warriors Invitational 005".
We now know the other part of that double header will be another Korea Vs Japan bout, with enigmatic Korean hopeful Ye Joon Kim (18-1-2, 10) [김예준] defending his WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title against Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平], who will be looking to bounce back from a March loss in the Philippines to Juan Miguel Elorde.
A poster to promote the bout has been put together by those responsible and the Korean team at the KBF are pushing the bout by sharing the poster image.
For Kim this bout will be his first defense of the title, which he won in May when he stopped Ryo Kosaka in Yesan. The talented Korean, known as Pacquiweather, has now gone 18-0-2 since his sole loss way back in 2012, and will know that another win here takes him one step closer to getting a really big fight. Out of all the male Korean fighters he seems the most likely to be able to pick up wins against world ranked opponents, though that is yet to be seen.
Kawahsima on the other hand will not a new face to Korean fight fans. He made his Korean debut 2016, beating Jin Wook Kim, though has gone 4-3 since then, including the competitive loss to Elorde and a narrow decision loss to Cristian Mijares in Mexico. He's not the natural talent of Kim, but he is still a very well school fighter and could well be a banana skin for Kim.
Sadly the rest of details of this card, other than the double main event, have yet to be announced
Back in May we reported that sources in Korea had informed us that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] would be heading to the peninsula to defend his regional title on August 15th against Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범]. Today that bout was indeed confirmed by Dangan in Japan, who revealed the bout will be aired, on a tape delay basis, on their excellent Boxing Raise service.
The bout, we now know, will take place in Daecheon and will serve as Naito's third defense. The second generation fighter will be attempting to do what his father failed to do in picking up a win in Korea.
Rikki's father, Cassius, would travel to Korea for 5 bouts losing all of them. He lost the OPBF Middleweight title to Jae Doo Yuh, and actually went 0-4 against Yuh, and also lost to the huge punching Chong Pal Park. Jeon however isn't on the level of Yuh or Park.
The Korean 27 year old will come in the bout on a run of 5 straight wins, though the most notable of those is a domestic level win over Dong Hee Kim and a blow out of limited journeyman Arief Blader, neither of whom would prepare Jeon for someone like Naito.
At the moment we've not had details about the under-card, but they are expected to come out over the coming weeks.
Related - Rikki Naito to defend OPBF title in Korea?
Earlier today reliable Korean sources informed us that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] will be heading to Korea to make his next defense of the regional title.
The second generation Japanese fighter had apparently been in talks to make his UK debut earlier in the year, but plans have changed and instead Naito is apparently pencilled in to defend his title against Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범] on August 15th in Korea, though a venue hasn't yet been secured for the bout.
For Naito the bout would be his third defense of the Korean title and see him looking to build on exciting wins over Jhertiz Chavez and Daishi Nagata. It would also be his first bout out of Japan, and potentially his first bout since last October, when he narrowly beat Nagata in a brilliant 12 round contest. Despite the inactivity and the fact he would be travelling for this one, he will still be strongly favoured over the Korean local who hasn't fought close to the level of Naito.
The 26 year old Jeon is currently riding a 5 fight winning run, but the best of those wins is a victory over domestic foe Dong Hee Kim. This is a massive step up for him, but one he and his team appear confident in making.
At the moment this news is doing the rounds in Korea, with many reporting the deal is signed and sealed, and we suspect an official announcement will be made in a few weeks time, after a venue has been secured for the bout.
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