On November 29th we were expecting to see the next set of bouts from the BoxingM Battle Royal series, which were going to be a set of quarter finals bouts as the tournament continues it's slow, and much belated, move towards the competition's final.
Sadly however earlier this week BoxingM announced the show had been postponed due to Covid19.
The announcement came on November 23rd, which also BoxingM announce that the protests set for November 25th were cancelled.
At the moment there is no set date for when things will be taking place, though the hope is that it will be a temporary postponement, and not something that lasts too long. There is, however, a fear that it could end up being a prolonged one, and potentially even derails the KBM's new streaming service, which was launched this month with this show set to be the second on made available on the service.
The statement from BoxingM states that these events were cancelled due to local government recommendations in the region. With that in mind it's likely these events will not be going ahead until the local authorities feel that events like these are completely safe in the region. That is unless, BoxingM decide to try holding them in some other region of Korea, though that seems unlikely, for now.
One of the often under-rated things about professional boxing is how good tournaments are, and we are massive fans of tournaments. It's not just the top tier tournaments, such as the World Boxing Super Series, but other, smaller, tournaments like the Japanese Rookie of the Year.
One of the many notable smaller tournaments worthy of attention is the Boxing M Battle Royal. The tournament is essentially Boxing Management Korea's (KBM) answer to the Japanese Rookie of the Year.
The tournament was supposed to have it's quarter final bouts way back on May 16th, with the finals originally planned for September. That was before the the on going global situation forced KBM to postpone a number of shows, including the various rounds of the Battle Royal.
As a result of the postponements the quarter finals are now set for November 29th, and will take place at SG Boxing. The bouts are expected to be broadcast, though it appears the broadcast will be a recording, and not live. The plan, at the moment, is to not allow spectators, though there is a chance that that will change, and some spectators may be allowed to attend depending on the situation in Korea in November.
In total the event is set to feature 13 bouts, taking place from Bantamweight up to Heavyweight.
Earlier this week Korean Boxing Management (KBM) announced that there was now a bout set to crown their new Lightweight champion.
The bout is set to take place on November 21st and will see the once beaten Moo Hyun Kim (5-1, 1) [김무현] take on veteran Dong Hyun Won (3-3) [원동현], who will turn 37 on the day of the fight.
Coming in the 27 year old Kim has scored back to back wins following his sole loss, to Gyu Boem Jeon, and appears to have his career back on track. Won on the other hand has struggled for form, and has lost his last 2 bouts, though he did score a couple of wins in 2019 and shouldn't be written off.
For those interested the title has been vacated by previous champion Oh Gon Kwon (7-2-3, 5), who is partaking in military service and then plans to increase his weight and begin fighting at 140lbs.
The bout will take place in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, and at the moment it's unclear whether fans will be allowed and whether the fight will be streamed online, televised, or recorded for viewers.
One thing we didn't expect to be talking about this early in 2020 was a Korean Heavyweight title bout, however there is now one set for February in Seoul, and on paper it looks a pretty competitive match up, albeit at a very low level.
The match up in question will see defending champion Sung Min Lee (7-1, 2) [이성민] make his first defense as he takes on Jong Kook Kim (6-1, 3) [김종국], in a bout that is not only for the Boxing M Korean title but also for a top 10 OPBF ranking.
Lee won the belt last June, when he took a split decision over Hoo Won Lee, becoming only the 5th man to hold the Korean Heavyweight title. Since then he has been inactive, but is in the top 15 of the OPBF at Heavyweight. Although no world beater the 29 year old is riding a 6 fight winning streak and won the Heavyweight Battle Royal in February 2019, before winning the national title.
Kim on the other hand is ranked by the OPBF at Cruiserweight, the weight that better suits his frame, though he has regularly fought at Heavyweight, including his sole loss to Ryu Ueda, the newly crowned Japanese Heavyweight champion. His biggest win to date came in the Korean Rookie of the Year in 2016, when he stopped Sang Ho Kim to become the Korean Heavyweight Rookie of the year.
Sadly details of the under-card for this bout are not yet available.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the biggest complains in boxing is the political discourse that runs through the sport. Be it a promotional politics, politics with the alphabet boys or even at national commission level, there is simply too much political wrangling in the sport, and too many things that are inconsistent, problematic and confusing.
One of the worst countries for the political mess that we've got is South Korea, where there are numerous commissions and political affiliations, including the KBC, KBF and KBA, as well as a powerful management outfit, Korea Boxing M (KBM).
Earlier this week the KBM revealed that they had been holding a convention with the KBF, and whilst they haven't agreed to integrate, they have put down some agreements for the betterment of the sport in Korea.
The two will recognise each other as professional boxing organisations, and will work together. Notably they will not do the same with any other of the political factions in Korea, freezing out the KBA and KABC among others.
As part of their new working relationship they will only have 1 champion, unifying the titles of their relevant organisations to give us an all Korean champion. Connected to that is the fact the two will have join rankings. A huge step in having a single, solid and clear narrative in Korean boxing.
The organisations have agreed that if a fighter affiliated with a gym recognised by either organisation competes in an event run by an organisation they don't recognise, the gym license will be cancelled the fighter will not be recognised by either organisations.
This might not seem like a huge story, but for Korean boxing to have a unified vision is a great thing, and we're really hoping this is something that both parties do commit to long term.
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