By The Fight Pod
On November 8th, current WBA Asia Lightweight Champion, Hwang Kil Kim (11-1) will face his toughest opponent yet - Australia’s “prodigy” Liam Paro (17-0), currently ranked #2 and #3 by the WBO and IBF in the Super Lightweight division with multiple titles and a decorated amateur record. Originally, Paro was booked to fight a Romanian opponent (17-0), but had to pull out due to an injury. Kim’s team, Hannam Gym, jumped at this rare opportunity and Kim became a late replacement. The two fighters are headlining the card as the main event of a card taking place in Paro’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. As if fighting on enemy territory for the first time and accepting the biggest fight of his career on short notice doesn’t already reflect Kim’s determination and confidence, Kim is stepping up a weight class to fight Paro at Super Lightweight.
“I started my career at super welterweight, so stepping up to super lightweight isn’t a problem,” Kim told The Fight Pod. “I can’t say the limited time to prepare as a late replacement wasn’t a concern. I only had one month to prepare, but I gave it my all during that month so I have no regrets.”
Considering the circumstances, one might write Kim off as “easy work”. Paro’s promoter doesn’t seem too concerned and is already thinking about Paro’s next fight for a world title. Looking at BoxRec, not only is Paro Kim’s toughest fight yet, Kim is the biggest threat Paro has yet to face as well. Of Paro’s 17 victories, although undeniably impressive, not one of those wins were against a fighter of Kim’s caliber.
When asked about where Kim believes he has the upper hand, he pondered and listed a few attributes light heartedly.
“The upper hand huh...well, there doesn’t seem to be much haha. Pressure? Endurance? Heart? Well I should be ready for his counters…”, then confidently stated, “Output. I’ll double or triple the volume of punches he throws.”
For context, Hannam Gym is renowned for their endurance, aggressive pressure, and ability to keep the high rate of output without fading in the later rounds. Anyone familiar with the gym will know that those aren’t just meaningless words.
“It’s all speculation until Paro and I step into the ring”, says Kim as he dismisses any potential excuse for himself. “I train as hard as anyone if not more than anyone. I have belief in myself. Thank you to those who support me. Win, lose, draw - all I can do is give it my all and have no regrets”.
A victory for Kim will not only put Korea back on the map for world championship title contention, it may heavily influence the method in which the different sanctioning bodies attempt to build a world champion . As many Asian boxing fans know, South Korea was the powerhouse of Asia with several World Champions.
Today, six separate sanctioning bodies exist and can never come to an agreement about unification. The champions of their respective organizations are not allowed to fight each other. Violation of this “rule” will get the fighter banned for life.
The presidents In the end, the fighters get the worst part of the deal - choosing to fight in one will increase the chances to fight for a certain title, OPBF for example, as opposed to another org., that will allow their fighters to fight for the WBA Asia title. The head coach of Hannam Gym, also the president of Hannam Promotions has been jumping from organization to organization due to disagreements I assume, but regardless of which sanctioning body, he is always for the best interest of his fighters and some how, some way, finds a way to provide his fighters an opportunity to get one step closer to the World Title.
(Will be explained in a future article.)
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.