Over the weekend news broke from Korea that former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) [中山佳祐] would be facing Korea's very own Woo Hyun Kim (8-1, 1) [김우현] in the new year. In what is a really interesting match up pitting a former OPBF champion against a former interim PABA champion.
The 31 year old Nakayama, from the Watanabe gym in Japan, was the OPBF Flyweight champion back in 2017 and early 2018. His reign was a short one, and since then his career has struggled, with the fighter now desperately needing a win to resurrect his badly faltering career. It's faltered to the point where he has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses to Jayr Raquinel and Yusuke Sakashita.
At 22 year old Kim is seen one of the brightest hopes in Korean boxing. His sole defeat happened more than 4 years ago, when he was still a teenager, and he subsequently went on to win the interim PABA title. Sadly Kim, like many Korean hopefuls, vanished from boxing we close to 3 years before returning this year and beating Junhui Zhao in June. That is his only bout since September 2016, when he beat Jong Min Jung.
Despite the stop start nature of the Korean's career those in Korean boxing see the youngster as one of their best hopes for the future and taking on Nakayama, even an out of form Nakayama, is a clear sign that they want Kim to make up for lost time with this bout, which will be for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title.
Interestingly their may be a second title on the line here, with the KBM revealing they were in talks with the JBC to also have the vacant KBM title on the line for the bout, which is possible following a rule change earlier this year, and could see the winner becoming a double champion.
(Image courtesy of boxing M)
Earlier today we were informed that the Korean fighter Dong Kwan Lee (12-2-2, 5) [이동관] would be stepping up in a big way on January 18th when takes on unbeaten Filipino Jenel Lausa (10-0-1, 6), in a bout for the WBA Asia Featherweight title.
The talented Korean is the current BoxingM Super Featherweight champion, but is set to vacate that title for this bout, at a lower weight, where his team feels he is best suited.
Lee has had a good 2019, picking up 3 wins including a stoppage win over Filipino Anthony Sabalde in June, and although he's still got a linger TKO loss to Jun Zhao hanging over his head he has reeled off 4 straight wins. He's bounced back well from that Zhao loss, and at 27 years old seems to hitting his stride.
Lausa on the other hand is 31 years old and dubbed the "Demolition man". He'll be looking to demolish the hopes of Lee in what will be his first bout outside of the Philippines. Although not well known away from home Lausa has impressed and holds notable wins over Jon Jon Estrada and Carlos Lopez, and a draw with Jhunriel Ramonal.
At the moment the TV rights of this are unclear, tough KBM have stated it will be televised live, and will take place in Jeon ju.
(Image courtesy of the KBM)
Over this weekend the KBM were busy confirming numerous bouts, one of which was the next bout for talented teenager Min Jang (9-0-2, 2) [장민], who looks to move up a level and fight for his first international title.
The talented 19 year old will face off with Chinese visitor Junhui Zhao (4-5-2 1), in a bout for the WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title, on December 28th.
The Korean youngster, who won the KBM Super Flyweight title in April, has seen his body out grown the Super Flyweight division and he's moved to Bantamweight, and now Super Bantamweight. He's had a busy 2019, which included his title win and a win over Japan's Wataru Ikegami, and he's obviously wanting to end the year on a high.
Zhao on the hand is a 25 year old who is relatively unproven, though has fought in Korea before, and went 6 round with Woo Hyun Kim back in June. From what we understand, though have yet to have confirmed, is that he ended up picking up the WBA regional title this past September, when he beat Yangyang Wang, and will be defending the belt for the first time here, against Jang.
According to Korean sources this bout will be televised live, though no channel was confirmed for the bout at the time of writing.
(Image courtesy of boxingm)
Over the weekend we were informed that baby faced Korean teenager Han Bin Suh (5-0-3, 4) [서한빈] was pencilled in to defend his KBM Super Bantamweight title on January 18th against unbeaten domestic foe Dong Myung Shin (2-0) [신동명].
For the 22 year old champion the bout will serve as his third defense, and sees him build on a busy 2019, which saw him fighting 4 times, winning the title and defending it twice.
As for the challenger the bout marks a big step up in. Aged 31 Shin doesn't have time to waste, especially given he has now been out of the ring since February this year, when he took a decision over Yiping Gao.
Interestingly Korean sources have added that if Suh wins this he will begin to pursue the OPBF title, which is currently held by hard hitting Japanese fighter Hiroaki Teshigawara (20-2-2, 13) [勅使河原 弘晶], with the hope of landing that OPBF title bout next Spring.
Originally this bout was aimed to be made for December this year, though Suh suffered some minor injuries causing it to be scheduled for next, in what looks likely to be a relatively stacked KBM card.
(Image courtesy of boxingM)
One of the biggest complains in boxing is the political discourse that runs through the sport. Be it a promotional politics, politics with the alphabet boys or even at national commission level, there is simply too much political wrangling in the sport, and too many things that are inconsistent, problematic and confusing.
One of the worst countries for the political mess that we've got is South Korea, where there are numerous commissions and political affiliations, including the KBC, KBF and KBA, as well as a powerful management outfit, Korea Boxing M (KBM).
Earlier this week the KBM revealed that they had been holding a convention with the KBF, and whilst they haven't agreed to integrate, they have put down some agreements for the betterment of the sport in Korea.
The two will recognise each other as professional boxing organisations, and will work together. Notably they will not do the same with any other of the political factions in Korea, freezing out the KBA and KABC among others.
As part of their new working relationship they will only have 1 champion, unifying the titles of their relevant organisations to give us an all Korean champion. Connected to that is the fact the two will have join rankings. A huge step in having a single, solid and clear narrative in Korean boxing.
The organisations have agreed that if a fighter affiliated with a gym recognised by either organisation competes in an event run by an organisation they don't recognise, the gym license will be cancelled the fighter will not be recognised by either organisations.
This might not seem like a huge story, but for Korean boxing to have a unified vision is a great thing, and we're really hoping this is something that both parties do commit to long term.
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