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.
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) [江畑 佳代子] make her first defense of the title, as she battles Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6).
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both fighters made the 105lbs weight limit with some ease.
The champion was the heavier fighter on the scales, coming in at 104.7lbs. She looked in very good shape for a woman in her 40''s andf it's clear that she knows a loss here will probably end her career. She has been a repeated title challenger, before winning the title last year, and will not want to give the belt up. She admitted that she was feeling tension and that she has long felt that her career is on the edge of a cliff, essentially admitting that she can't afford to lose the title.
As for Park, who hasn't fought in over 2 years, she spoke about her IFBA title reign, though this will be a chance to claim a "big 4" recognised title. She was even more under the limit, coming in at 103.6lbs and looking in terrific shape for what really will be a career defining contest. She has been unbeaten in over a decade and will be looking to extend that streak here.
Veteran Ebata looks to defend against Korean foe Park
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
Earlier today saw the official line up for the "Victoriva Vol 1" show, set for March 8th at the Korakuen Hall. The announcement confirmed a number of bouts and revealed others, to give us a staggering 6 title bouts on the show, which comes only 5 days after Hinamatsuri, also known as "Girls Day" or "Doll's Day".
The first 3 title bouts set for the card were all Japanese female title bouts. These were a Bantamweight title bout between Miyo Yoshida (8-1) [吉田 実代] and Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2) [カイ ジョンソン], with Yoshida defending her title for the first time, a Flyweight title bout between Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) [小関 有希] and Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1) [池本 夢実] and a Japanese Atomweight title fight between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) [葉月 さな] and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1) [鈴木 菜々江].
We then saw an OPBF title being confirmed, with the confirmation of an OPBF Female Minimumweight bout between Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] and Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3) [塙英理加], both of whom have come up short in recent world title fights. The winner of this will likely get another shot at a world title whilst the lower will have to climb back up the rankings and could be a year or two from getting a shot.
One of the world title bouts is for the WBO female Light Flyweight title and will see former Japanese amateur standout Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) [チャオズ箕輪] take on Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) [天海 ツナミ] in what should be an absolute barn burner for the vacant title, which was vacated last year by Naoko Fujioka.
The other world title bout will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) [江畑 佳代子] defending her title against Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). For Ebata the bout will be her first defense whilst Park will be fighting for the first time in over 2 years, and will be seeking one of the biggest wins of her career.
The card, for those interested in watching it, will be featured on Boxingraise.com.
Earlier today in Korea fans saw local star Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6) retain her WIBA Minimumweight title with a decision win over gutsy Filipino warrior Gretchen Abaniel (15-8, 6).
At the start of the fight it looked like Park was going to have an easy time with her much shorter foe. The Korean's range and height appeared to make life easy on the outside and allowed her to come forward and she wished. In the second round however Abaniel changed the style of the fight, slinging in big bombs in the hope of hurting the Korean. Although Abaniel's work wasn't the cleanest it was troubling the Korean who was unable to her challenger off during a number of rounds.
By the time we got to the mid-way point the fight looked in the balance with Abaniel the aggressor and really giving Park all sorts of problems. Sadly for Abaniel however the momentum then began to change with Park ending round 6 in the ascendancy and then continuing her march to the the final bell by using her more complete skills, longer ranger and and more polished boxing ability.
Going in to the final round it appeared that Abaniel would need a KO to score the win, and she out looking for it. Unfortunately Abaniel's aggression resulted in a head clash that left Park cut and Abaniel being deducted a point. The cut wasn't a fight ending one but did seem to spur on both fighters who, on resumption of the fight, engaged in the exchange of the fight. Sadly for Abaniel she lacked the power needed in those late stages to turn the bout around.
Having reached the final bell their was only one winner, though Abaniel showed why she is so popular with top fighters. She comes to fight and will always make for some exciting action, even if she's not the most well skilled.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kbaboxing.co.kr)
A new month of boxing kicks off this coming Saturday and the first televised card comes from South Korea where fans will be able to get "world title action" courtesy of local hero, and current WIBA and IFBA champion, Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6). Park will be defending her titles against Filipino fighter Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6).
Whilst the bout is relatively obscure for non-Korean fans it will actually be aired in Korea on specialist sports channel SBS Sports.
The broadcast is set to begin at 2PM local time on Saturday and is set to last two hours with Hyun's bout being the main event. From what we understand one of the other bouts will feature Thai based Iranian Mohamadreza Hamze (6-5-1, 2) fighting a local Korean.
Whilst fight fans outside of South Korea will struggle to see this one live we do expect to see fight footage hit the internet within a few days. For fans in Korea this should be a great test for their local fighter who, despite her record, is genuinely not that impressive. Abaniel, whilst no world beater herself, should really make this more than interesting.
Note-Fans who use BETV to watch Korean and Japanese TV SBS Sports should be accessible via the channel listed as CCTV12.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kbaboxing.co.kr)
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