Earlier today our attention turned to South Korea for a WBA Asia title double header.
One of those bouts was a domestic clash for the WBA Asia Lightweight title, which ended with Hwang Kil Kim (10-1, 5) taking a decision over Ki Soo Lee (8-4, 1) to record his first defense of the title. Despite being an all-Korean regional title bout it wasn't the bout that really got the attention, that was instead the second regional title bout.
The attention grabbing bout saw highly skilled Korean enigma Ye Joon Kim (18-1-2, 10) [김예준] take on Japanese visitor Ryo Kosaka (17-5-1, 8) [小坂遼] for the WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title. This was regarded as a much, much better bout than the all Korean contest, and with Kim being widely regarded as the most promising Korean talent it was the bout that was worthy of additional attention.
Kosaka, fighting outside of Japan for the first time, showed confidence early and tried to walk down Kim, who was able to show off his defensive skills. The defense of Kim blunted the attacks of Kosaka, who was putting a lot in for little result, the story for much of the fight. What made things worse for Kosaka was that when Kim let his shots go he really seemed to look like he could hurt Kosaka as and when he wanted. That was seen at the end of round 2 and 3, as Kim moved through the gears and showed touches of real class.
Sadly the class from Kim only came in spurts, and their was little sustained effort from the Korea, who appeared to be toying with Kosaka at times. It was as it the Japanese fighter was giving his all, whilst Kim was looking to show case his skills on the back foot, using the bout to sharpen his tools, rather than really going to work. It made things a little monotonous at times, and almost as if Kim was carrying Kosaka, when he should have really been turning the screw.
Thankfully Kim did began to show his vicious side in round 6, dropping Kosaka. The Japanese fighter got to his feet but was given a beating through the rest of the round, with Kim landing lefts hands at will. The Korean would keep up the work rate in round 7, looking to close the show, but to his credit Kosaka refused to go down, and saw out the storm. He did so by taking a lot of punches, but still managed to tough out the most damaging round of the fight.
Kim further turned the screw in rounds 8 and 9, not as impressive as he had in 6 and 7 but enough to make it clear he had too much, still, for the visitor and it seemed like Kosaka's corner it as they seemingly pulled their man from the bout at the end of round 9. A decision he didn't look best pleased about, though one that did make sense.
Kim, despite looking in total control, showed a lack of real fire at times, which was rather disappointing and it seemed like he was happy to play with his food. Against Kosaka that was fine, but it did make the bout drag. When he let his hands go he looked a sensationally talented fighter though, and fingers crossed we'll see him step up and what he can do in a much tougher bout than this next time out. He's not the man to save Korean boxing, but he is clearly their biggest hope and their best natural talent, and could be the man they need to kick start a Korean boxing revival.
Tomorrow in Korea local hopeful Ye Joon Kim (17-1-2, 9) [김예준] battle against Japan's Ryo Kosaka (17-4-1, 8) [小坂遼] in a battle for the vacant WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two fighters took part in their weigh in, and both men came in under the 122lb limit for the bout.
On the scales Kim was bang on 122lbs and looked confident, calm and relaxed. Kosaka on the other hand was 121.8lbs.
Coming in to this bout Kim is riding a 13 fight winning run, including wins against the likes of Yuki Strong Kobayashi, Angky Angkotta and Sa Myung Noh. On the other hand Kosaka is looking to secure a second straight win following a 2018 loss to the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga.
The Korean fight scene had a big shot in the arm this past weekend with an excellent KBM show, featuring a couple of KBM title fights and the latest win from teenage sensation Jeong Han Cha. It's now been confirmed that it's going to get another one on March 3rd, with a KBF show that features several notable fighters.
One of those bouts is an excellent match up between In Duck Seo (10-1-2, 6) [서인덕] and Heuk San Lee (9-0-2, 4) [이흑산], who will be fighting for the KBF Welterweight title.
Seo is the current KBF champion, having won the title last September when he beat Moon Sung Choi. He began his career 8-0 (5), and despite some recent set backs he did score his title win in his last bout and at 24 he is still a maturing fighter. Lee is a Korean based Cameroonian fighter who has become a bit of a star in Korea and is a former BoxingM Light Middleweight champion. He's associated with TAP Boxing who will be looking to score his 4th straight win since fighting to a draw with Ma Roo Jung last July.
Another notable fighter on this card will be Ye Joon Kim (16-1-2, 8) [김예준] who takes on Thai visitor Anocha Phuangkaew (2-0, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch in favour of Kim, who was once seen as the potential saviour of Korean, though the Thai fighter has got a reported 45-5 record in Muay Thai and could end up being a surprise package here.
A second KBF title fight will take place at 154lbs and see Dong Woo Kim (5-2, 3) [김동우] battle against Tae Young Suh (4-0-1) [서태영]. Neither of these have the profile of the men involved in the Welterweight title bout. Kim has scored 1 win in his last 3 bouts whilst Suh is unbeaten but has yet to score a stoppage.
It's hard to believe that we've not seen Korean fighter Ye Joon Kim (15-1-2, 7) [김예준] fight since he defended the IBF Asia Super Bantamweight title against Yuki Strong Kobayashi [ストロング小林佑樹] in November 2016.
Thankfully the wait to see the Korean prospect back in action will end later this month, with the charismatic hopeful set to to return on November 17th as part of a KPBF card.
At the moment the details of Kim's bout aren't clear, other than that he will fight in a 10 rounder. The only real details are that his opponent is expected to be a Japanese fighter and that the bout will be taking place in in Hadong, South Korea. Hopefully more details will emerge in the coming days, such as Kim's opponent and what weight the bout will be at.
As well as Kim's bout we'll also see Eun Hye Lee (11-1, 4) [이은혜] defending her WIBA Light Flyweight title against Xiuli Liang (2-3).
For fans interested in watching this card, it will be shown on SPOTV.
Yesterday we saw Korean fighter Ye Joon Kim (15-1-2, 7) [김예준] successfully defend the IBF Asia Super Bantamweight title with a decision win over the game but out classed Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-6, 5) [ストロング小林佑樹], a visitor from Japan. Whilst watching the fight we felt their was something missing from Kim's performance and today we found out we were right.
Sadly what was missing was Kim's health with the Korean youngster suffering an injury to his left elbow, an injury that meant his powerful left hook wasn't as effective as usual and that he was forced to use his right hand more than he'd have liked.
The youngster is set to under-go surgery on the elbow issue, which was said to be an issue on a tendon in his arm, in the very near future with the issue hoping to be resolved quickly.
Kim has stated that after the surgery is complete his team will start to look at top 10 opponents for him with the hope being that he will get a chance to take a big step towards a world title fight next year. It's unlikely he'll get that shot a title in the next 12 months but next year will certainly be about climbing the rankings, and bouts against someone in the top 10 wouldn't be out of the question for the youngster.
(Image courtesy of Yonhap news)
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