This past weekend Korean boxing got a shot in the arm when their fighters, all fighting on the road, went 2-0-1 (2) and proved that there was actually some life in Korean boxing, other than that of Korean based sensation Muhammad Waseem (4-0, 3).
The first of the Korean's to fight this past weekend was Light Welterweight destroyer Min Wook Kim (16-1, 12) who made American fighter Louis Cruz (11-2, 5) look like a genuine tomato can in a 153 second blitz job. Cruz, who had never been stopped, was totally battered by the heavy handed Kim and dropped 3 times, with the third seeing Cruz staying down from a monstrous right hand.
The win for Min Wook was his 4th in the US, third this year, and continued to see him impress as he slowly moves towards getting a notable American TV bout. Give that he's making his name at 140lbs there is a lot Al Haymon could do with him and a lot of bouts that could be made very easily as Kim looks to leave a genuine impress on US audiences, who have sadly not had the chance to really see him with his US fights being off TV so far. Despite that he is a sensational and exciting fighter as his bout with Valentine Hosokawa showed.
Less than 12 hours after Min Wook's win fans in Osaka got to see Japanese based Tae Il Kim, aka Teiru Atsumi, (11-1, 5) extend his winning run to 5 straight wins. The Korean was fighting his third bout in Japan and scored his third successive stoppage win as he beat Filipino Dennis Tubieron (19-8-2, 8) in 2 rounds, the same Dennis Tubieron who went the distance with Josh Warrington last year. The bout saw the 23 year old Kim basically bully Tubieron about before finishing him off.
Whilst beating Tubieron isn't some sort of major statement win it did come on the back of an upset victory over Sho Nakazawa, a top Japanese prospect who had been tipped to be one of the next stars of the Osakan boxing scene. Given that Atsumi now back-to-back wins of note there is a good chance that his team will start to push him for an OPBF title fight, or a Japanese title fight. An OPBF title bout against Ryo Takenaka would certainly make for a brilliant test for the youngster.
Later that same day, though remaining in Osaka, fans saw the OPBF ranked Joon Yong Lee (5-4-4, 3) fight to a very unexpected draw with big punching Japanese fighter Koki Tyson (10-2-2, 10), who was supposed to be using the bout as a warm up for an OPBF title fight of his own in December. Despite failing to win Lee did actually deserve a victory here as he out boxed and countered Tyson at willing, catching him repeatedly with straight right hands and making the local fighter look foolish. Were it not for a point deduction in round 6 Lee would have won the bout on all 3 cards, and still deserved the win with the deduction.
Whilst Lee was unfortunate here no one would really regard him as a Korean prospect to keep an eye on, however this performance did show that he's no joke and we suspect we'll see him back in Japan in the near future to test the other Japanese fighters hoping to move onto OPBF title fights at 154lbs or 160lbs.
Although Lee isn't a prospect there is a third Korean fighter we would regard as a prospect, similar Min Wook Kim and Tae Il Kim, that's yet another Kim. We mean Ye Joon Kim (14-1-2, 7) who is looking to make a mark as a Super Bantamweight contender. The enigmatic 23 year old has traveled in the past, scoring a notable win against Akihiro Matsumoto in Japan back in 2014, but in recent fights as stayed at home where he has become the face of the KBF (Korean Boxing Federation).. At home he has been racking together some nice wins over the likes of Vergil Puton, Yoshihiro Utsumi, Angky Angkotta and most recently Patomsith Pathompothong to establish himself in the IBF world rankings.
Although in the IBF rankings Ye Joon won't be getting a world title fight any time soon. His handlers aren't idiots and won't be foolish enough to put him in the ring with Jonathan Guzman, however they will continue to develop the youngster who still has a lot of areas to develop.
As well as the fighters mentioned above the Korea does have other interesting fighters emerging through the ranks. These include the Russian born Je Ni Ma (9-1-3, 8), who is said to be preparing for an OPBF Silver title fight in October, Dong Hoon Yook (9-0, 5), who scored a relatively good win over Hero Tito earlier this year, and several other fighters emerging thanks to the Rookie tournaments that the various bodies run in Korea.
Of course it's also the country where Muhammad Waseem (4-0, 3) is basing his career with AK Promotions, and it seems like Waseem may be the best among the bunch.
Sadly before people start to think that Korean boxing is firmly rebuilding and going in the right direction we do just need to point out that it seems both Ja Ik Goo (3-0, 3) and Kyoo Hwan Hwang (2-0, 2), who were two genuinely bright prospects, have both vanished from the Korean scene. Goo hasn't fought since stopping Taek Min Kim in 7 rounds more than 2 years ago whilst Hwang has been in inactive for more than a year himself. These two showed a lot of potential but sadly it seems like they have been victims of the Korean boxing scene just as their career were set to take off.
Note-Various records of Korean fighters on boxrec are wrong. We have used the most complete record information available for fighters through out this article.