After weeks of hearing that unbeaten Korean fighter Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) [최현미] was in talks to defend her title in late June we can now confirm all the details of her bout, including the date, location and opponent.
The unbeaten WBA female Super Featherweight champion will be making her 7th defense of the title on June 29th in Incheon, at the Dongin Women's Junior High School, and will be up against Japanese challenger Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子].
Choi, a refugee from North Korea who as fought in South Korea for her entire professional career, is best known for winning a world title on debut and is enjoying a reign in her second division, having began her career at Featherweight. Sadly, given her talent, she is frustratingly inactive, with just 8 fights in the last 5 years, including just a single bout in 2018. She's got star potential, but the KBA, for whom she fights under, simply don't put on enough shows to keep her busy.
Fujiwara on the other hand is a former JBC and OPBF unified champion at Featherweight, who vacated the Japanese title earlier this year to continue her OPBF reign. She's talented, and is riding a 8 fight unbeaten run, though this is a major step for her and isn't just her first world title bout but also her first bout outside of Japan.
We've been told that along with this main event there will also be a KBA title fight on the show in the chief support bout, though we've not been given the full details of that bout at the time of writing.
We all know that July 15th will be a huge day for Asian boxing, with a massively anticipated Malaysian card taking place as Manny Pacquiao challenges Lucas Matthysse for the WBA Welterweight title. It's worth noting however not all the attention will be in Malaysia as there has recenmtly been a Korean show announced, which will be headlined by the unbeaten Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) [최현미] defending the WBA female Super Featherweight title against Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-7, 4), herself a former WBO "interim" Bantamweight champion.
The Korean has an incredible back story as she defected from North Korea and claimed the WBA female Featherweight title on her debut before being completely mislead by her management team, and then fighting on to become a 2-weight champion. Aged 27 Choi is lacking in terms of major wins, but does hold notable victories against the likes of Shannon O'Connell, Fujin Raiska, Diana Ayala and Kimika Miyoshi. She'll know that there are potentially huge fights out there if she moves up in weight against but doesn't look like she's in a rush, insteadthis will be her 6th defense of the world title and she will continue to build her reputation in Korea.
As for Gomez, 30, the bout will see her looking to claim her first professional world title. As mentioned she has had a short reign as a WBO interim world champion at Bantamweight, but has come up short in bouts for world titles at Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight and Super Featherweight. Despite coming up short in her biggest bouts, Gomez has shared the ring with the likes of Carolina Raquel Duer, Jackie Nava and Eva Wahlstrom..
This bout, like many of Choi's other recent bouts, will be aired on KBS N Sports in Korea, and will be held under the auspices of the KBA. Coming into this bout she is the only Korean world champion and will be hoping to continue her reign.
The card will also feature Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6) taking on Filipino Norj Guro (11-7-1, 4) for the WBF International title at 105lbs.
Tomorow fight fans in Korea will get the chance to see Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) [최현미] defending the WBA female Super Featherweight title, as she faces off with talented Mexican challenger Jessica "La Magnifica" Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1).
Whilst some fans, especially those in the west, may not be hugely interested in Female boxing it's fair to say that there is a dedicated fan base, and one that looks likely to grow as a ground swell from the recent Olympics which have helped the likes of Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. For those fans, and for Korean fans, and for general hardcore fight fans, the is news that the Choi Vs Gonzalez bout will be aired live on Korean channel KBSN Sprts, who will show the fight card from 2PM local time, with a 3 hour time slot set aside for the bout.
Not only is the bout being shown live, but it will also be aired on delay, at 4AM on Sunday morning.
For those who are involved in Korena boxing the success of Choi is key to the sport, with the North Korean refugee being the only world champion, as recognised by the big 4, fighting in the penisula, and she in many ways carries the boxing hopes of the country on her shoulders. A win here will help keep Korean boxing alive, even if it is only in the realm of female boxing.
Related - Choi looks to continue reign as WBA champion!
Earlier this week the Korean Boxing Association (KBA) announced that their biggest star, Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) [최현미], was to return to the ring in November to make their next defense of the WBA female Super Featherweight title.
The unbeaten Korean, who famously won the WBA female Featherweight title on her debut, will be making her 5th defense of the Super Featherweight title as she takes on Mexican challenger Jessica "La Magnifica" Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1) in a bout to be held in Incheon on November 18th.
The champion has one of the best stories in boxing, have been a refugee from North Korea who has made a name for herself in professional boxing by winning 2 world titles and repelling challengers like Claudia Andrea Lopez, Shannon O'Connell, Fujin Raika, Chika Mizutani and Diana Ayala. Although not a big name in boxing, her career has been an incredibly interesting one, and has had news pieces done it. She's developed into a good outside fighter and although there are flaws in her fighting style she is still a real success story for refugees, for female boxing and for Korean sport.
As for Gonzalez she first made a name for herself in 2011 as part of some reality TV show, but went on to prove her ability in 2013, beating the likes of Irma Garcia and Yazmin Rivas to claim the WBC "interim" female Bantamweight title. She moved up in weight in 2016 to challenge for the WBA female Super Bantamweight title, and came up marginally short, and has moved up again, fighting to a draw in a WBC silver Super Featherweight title bout last time out.
At the moment there is little information about the undercard, but there is suggestion there will be a minor title fight on the show as well as the main event.
Earlier today the Ohashi gym held a press conference to announce that they were to begin crowd funding, in an attempt to raise money for world title fights going forward.
The press conference saw Mr Ohashi, along with former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (25-6, 13) [八重樫 東] and 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (3-0, 3) [清水 聡], announce that fans would be able to contribute via crowd sourcing site https://www.makuake.com, allowing fans put money towards getting an Ohashi fighter a world title fight.
Fans are able to support one of 5 Ohashi gym fighters, with current world champion Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) [井上 尚弥] being the most notable, along with his younger brother Takuma Inoue (8-0, 2) [井上 拓真], rising youngster Ryo Matsumoto (20-1, 18) [松本亮] along with Yaegashi and Shimizu.
For fans willing to pledge money there is various rewrds, from shirts to special training sessions and events with the fighters. There is however a question as to how successful this will be going forward, and it certainly wasn't a succes when Korean Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) [최현미] attempted it, raising just 6% of her target. On the other hand, the Ohashi stable are much higher profile than Choi and have a much bigger fan base than the Korean fight.
For those interested the Ohashi gym project is here https://www.makuake.com/project/ohashi-gym/.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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