The champion, Taek-Min Kim (15-6, 10) is an experienced campaigner with a 9 year professional career under his belt. In those 9 years he has claimed Korean titles at both Super Featherweight and Light Welterweight whilst also picking up the PABA Super Featherweight title along the way. To say he's an accomplished fighter is to merely state the obvious and when you consider he also holds a win over Min Wook Kim things are pretty impressive.
In the opposite corner to Kim is novice Ja-Ik Goo (2-0, 2), pictured, a fighter who has been highly impressive with his power since turning professional last year. Unfortunately whilst Goo has shown impressive power so far, stopping both opponents inside a round, he has also shown some apprehensiveness, as hard to believe as it is. The apprehensiveness of Goo has seen him put under pressure, especially last time out when he faced Kazuki Hayashi, though so far his power has bailed him out.
With his experience Kim will obviously be the favourite. He not only has more than 10 times as many pro fights as his challenger but he also has 54 times as many rounds as Goo! This huge edge in experience is a genuine rarity in professional boxing, though it needs to said that Goo was actually a national champion in the amateurs and appears to have been an accomplished fighter nationally even if he lacks international recognition.
Kim's professional experience is he key advantage. Yes, as mentioned above, Goo does have amateur experience, but Kim knows what it's like to go the scheduled 10 rounds, even if he has only done it once himself. Not only does he know what it's like to go 10 rounds but he's also faced a higher level of foe including Taisho Ozawa who actually stopped Kim inside a round. Unfortunately for Kim it's not only been the higher level fighters that have beaten him however and with 3 losses in his last 4 he's certainly not a fighter who's about to go on a major run to a world title.
With 3 stoppage losses against him Kim will know that he needs to protect himself early on before trying to get to Goo later on, though footage of Kim has shown that defense is certainly leaky.
For Goo this fight is a tricky one. Can he be as apprehensive as he was in his debut with Jung-Hoon Go, where both fighters were warned twice for lack of activity? Can he let Kim attack him from the off as he allowed Hayashi? The answer to both is probably not. He'll know he has power and from clips of him fighting as an amateur we can see Goo can take a shot and fire back.
Thankfully for Goo his power is the great equaliser. A well timed right left Hayashi spread-eagled whilst a blistering assault dropped Go twice. If he starts fast against Kim we have no doubt the power of Goo will stop Kim inside a round and become the new champion. He's naturally bigger, naturally stronger and despite being inexperienced we think the biggest issue about Goo is his confidence.
If Goo jumps on Kim, or lures him in well then we have to favour the challenger.
This really is a bit of a 50-50 bout. It depends on whether or not Kim can take the sting out of Goo, or whether Goo can connect early enough to finish off Kim. We're putting our money on Goo, though can genuinely see both men winning very different fights.
For fight fans wanting to watch this, we expect the bout will be shown on MBC Sports Plus, alongside the brilliant WBO female Minimumweight fight between Su-Yun Hong and Mako Yamada and the interesting looking Korean Bantamweight title fight.