Earlier this year we saw Jung Kyoung Lee (7-3-1, 3) [이중경] lose the OPBF Light Middleweight title against Japanese veteran Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) [渡部あきのり], losing the belt in his first defense. Earlier today we were informed about Lee's next bout, and it will also be for a regional title.
The Korean warrior has been confirmed to be on the KBF Rookie of the Year final card, in what will be the main event of the card, and he will be taking on Thai visitor Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-6, 22), aka Narong Bunchan, in a bout for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight.
The Korean won the OPBF title this past January, when he stopped veteran Samuel Colomban in 7 rounds, securing a 4th straight win in the process. Whilst his reign was a short one, he did show a lot of heart and determination to keep fighting against Watanabe, until he was finally stopped late in round 10.
As for Saddam, the once touted Thai has seen his career blow up in his own face in recent years. He was once 23-0 (18) and looked on the very of big things, but since then he has gone 5-6, with 4 losses in his last 6 bouts and moved from Super Featherweight to Light Middleweight.
Whilst the bout isn't expected to be a huge one, it is great to see Lee coming back and looking to remain in the title mix, despite the rather painful loss to Watanabe in August.
Earlier today fight fans in Seoul saw local fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (7-3-1, 3) [이중경] lose the OPBF Light Middleweight title against Japanese veteran Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) [渡部あきのり], who rolled back the clock to score one of his most significant wins to date.
Sadly the bout wasn't televised, but there was enough local reports to get a feeling of the fight, which seemed like it was very heavily favouring the local man.
Lee seemed to do enough to take the opening round, but was dropped hard from a Watanabe left hand in round 2 and seemed to be down for well over the 10 count, which was reported as being incredibly slow. Sources report that got around 18 seconds from when he was dropped to when the fight continued, but the fight went on. Lee still seemed hurt in the third round but recovered well in round 4, as he spoiled the action and frustrated Watanabe.
Given the knockdown, and strong round 3, it seemed that Watanabe had to be in the lead when the scores were publicly announced after 4 rounds. Whilst 2 of the judges did have him in the lead, 39-36 and 38-27, one judge some how had Lee up 38-37.
Lee, in fairness to him, battled hard in the middle rounds and really came on strong, taking some control of the bout. It was a great fight back, though it appears that whilst Lee was landing more it was the shots of Watanabe which were the more damaging, and even on away soil it was feeling like Watanabe was still in the lead, despite the spirit being shown from Lee.
After 8 rounds the scores were all over the place. One card was even, 77-77, one had Lee up 77-74 and the other had Watanabe up 76-75. It was clear that, if this went the distance, the judges would find it easier to have Lee in the lead at the end than Watanabe, and it seemed clear that the challenger knew the deck was stacked against him.
Watanabe would turn up the heat in round 9, a good round for him, before twice dropping Lee in round 10, to force the stoppage and score one of the biggest wins of his career.
With the win Watanabe has now become a 2-weight OPBF champion, and we wouldn't be surprised if he tried to unify the OPBF title with the Japanese title at 154lbs in the near future. For Lee however this appears to have been a punishing loss and it's hard to see where he goes from this defeat.
Tomorrow in Seoul fight fans will be able to see Korean local Jung Kyoung Lee (7-2-1, 3) [이중경] make his first defense of the OPBF Light Middleweight title, as he goes up against hard hitting Japanese veteran Akinori Watanabe (37-7-1, 31) [渡部あきのり].
Today the two men underwent through their weigh in for the contest and both men made the 154lb limit, whilst looking in excellent shape and physical condition.
The bout was originally scheduled for April, before Lee was forced to pull out due to an injury. The injury forced the fight to be delayed to tomorrow, but that wait may have served both men well.
Lee was last seen in action in his title win, a 7th round KO win over Samuekl Colomban. That was Lee's 4th bout in just 9 months and a 7 month break could do him the world of good coming into this bout. Watanabe on the other hand hasn't been seen in the ring since his December 2018 war with Nobuyuki Shindo, a fight that we featured in this weeks Closet Classic feature, Closet Classic - Nobuyuki Shindo Vs Akinori Watanabe.
Related - Lee and Watanabe battle for OPBF title!
Back in April we were expecting to see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (7-2-1, 3) [이중경] defending the the OPBF Light Middleweight title against Japanese puncher Akinori Watanabe (37-7-1, 31) [渡部あきのり]. Sadly that bout was cancelled in April when Lee suffered an injury just weeks before the scheduled date for the contest.
Although the bout was cancelled in April the plan had never been to scrap it all together, but to reschedule it, for when Lee was fit.
Yesterday Watanabe took to social media to announce that the bout was now back on, and was rescheduled for August 11th, with Lee having recovered from the injury that caused the bout to be delayed.
The contest will be held in Korea and will give Lee a chance to score his first defense whilst Watanabe will be looking to add to his impressive collection of title belts and become a 2-weight OPBF champion.
Back in March we reported that Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (7-2-1, 3) [이중경] would make his first defense of the OPBF Light Middleweight title on April 14th against Japanese puncher Akinori Watanabe (37-7-1, 31) [渡部あきのり], in Seoul. Sadly however that bout has now needed to be rescheduled.
According to those in charge at the KBF the official the reason for the postponement is a "double shoulder rotator muscle injury" to the champion.
At the moment there is no set recovery time, though it does seem likely the bout will be rescheduled to July at the earliest, given the seriousness of the injury.
We'll report any updates on this as soon as we have them.
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