Courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.co.kr
It's rare in the west for a female world title to get an equal billing on a major televised card but that's exactly what's happening on August 18th as Su-Yun Hong (8-0, 5) defends her WBO Minimumweight title on KBS Sports.
Hong, sharing the televised broadcast with OPBF Light Welterweight champion Min-Wook Kim, will be facing Mari Ando (10-5, 5) of Japan, a former WBA Atomweight champion. in a bout that we've got to admit we're pretty excited about.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Although footage of Hong is hard to come by we know that she's an incredibly classy southpaw who throws delightful straight punches with real snap on them. She's a proven would level fighter who holds one or two notable victories and is widely regarded as one of the top 5 fighters in the 105lb division.
The Korean's victory over Thailand's Teeraporn Pannimit is by far the best on her record and it was a commanding victory scoring a very dominant decision.
On Ando's record there are of course 5 losses, including 2 recent ones to Akaya Miyao. She has, as mentioned above, been the WBA Atomweight, 102lb, champion though there is a pretty solid step up from the rather thin Atomweight division to the tougher Minimumweight division where most smaller women do fight.
Although Ando herself appears to be hard hitter though it's fair to say to say her power hasn't really carried up to the world level. Her 5 stoppages have all come against complete novices and with that in mind we're struggling to see her really having an effect on Hong who appears to be a very special fighter.
We're going to say that we expect to see Hong retaining her title via a decision, though wouldn't be shocked to see Ando really struggle down the stretch as the classy work of Hong begins to pay dividends.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
To kick off the new "Female" section of Asian boxing we couldn't have picked a more interesting female "world" title bout.
In one corner we have Japanese veteran Fujin Raika (25-7-1, 10), pictured below, and in the other other corner is unbeaten Korean Hyun-Mi Choi (7-0-1, 2), pictured opposite. Both are former world champions and both are looking for a chance to stamp some authority on the Super Featherweight division as they battle for the WBA "interim" title,
Of the two fighters it's fair to say that Raika, 37, is the more tested fighter having been a professional for more than a decade. Her career, a legendary one, has seen her sharing the ring with a veritable who's who such as Chevelle Hallback, Jelena Mrdjenovich and Ann Saccurato.
Although she is seen as being on the slide Raika does bring real experience a genuine toughness and a natural size advantage having competed regularly at the Lightweight limit in recent years and also having fought as high as Light Welterweight. These qualities will always make her a tough fighter to deal with and if she gets inside she can let her hands fly.
At just 22 years old Choi is by far the younger, fresher fighter. Of course she is trading that off against her relative lack of experience though she has been a WBA Featherweight champion, in fact this will be her 9th straight contest for a world title though it will also be her first bout at the Super Featherweight limit having been a career Featherweight.
Stood at 5'7" Choi will have a height and reach advantage over Raika though it's incredibly important that shes uses it and stays on her toes. She's a lovely straight puncher when she gets in to a rhythm though it can sometimes take a few rounds for her to get her boxing going and this could see her having some problems.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
This fight really does seem a bit of a boxer v brawler contest.
The brawler, Raika, in this case is the bigger fighter and a bigger puncher though is several years removed from a notable victory. She has proven, against really good fighters, that she's a handful and has shown a willingness to do what it takes home or away to try and win.
The boxer, Choi, on the other hand is a fighter who is developing from a young girl to a fully grown woman. Her move up in weight is as much down to her frame filling out. She may have been fighting at Featherweight but she always looked big at 126lbs.
As with many fights of this stylistic match up the boxer will need to have the power and speed to keep the brawler from just walking in and unloading. Inside Raika will be able to bang away at the long midsection of Choi and will be a real danger woman.
For Choi this is about what does with her feet just as much as her hands. She'll be quicker with her feet and hands though she'll need to have the awareness to avoid walking herself into the corners where Raika will be able to have a field day. Choi hasn't the power to put Raika away, very few have, though she'll need to get her attention early and make sure Raika respects her. If she can't get the respect of Raika this will be very difficult.
Although Choi will find this bout very difficult, her toughest since her split decision victory over Claudia Andrea Lopez, we imagine she'll just have enough down the stretch to take a close and very competitive decision against the Japanese veteran.
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.