Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans saw a Japan Vs South Korea show, with 4 bouts pitting fighters from the two countries against each other. Sadly for the visitors from the Korean peninsula, it was a show to forget with all 4 visitors picking up losses.
The first bout saw Korean teenager In Soo Jang (5-2-1) [장인수] suffer an opening round stoppage loss to Japanese professional novice Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [高山涼深]. Takayama took control very early on, catching the visitor coming in and dropping him after about 90 seconds. Takayama would then continue on the foot and force the referee to step in after just 2 minutes and 6 seconds.
The second bout went the distance as Mirai Naito (8-1, 3) [内藤未来] took a 6 round decision over Do Jin Lee (6-2-3) [이도진]. On paper this looked a competitive match up, but Naito proved to be far too good, shutting out the Korean on 2 of the 3 cards, whilst the third had it 58-56 to the Japanese local.
The bout that did end up being the most competitive came at Light Middleweight and saw Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) [友松藍], narrowly over-came the hard hitting Sang Geun Lee (6-1, 4) [이상근], over 6 hotly contested rounds. The Japanese debutant, a former All Japan national amateur champion, was in a war here with both men letting shots go in a fantastic back and forth. Lee, a big puncher, gave as good as he got, but just came up short against Tonomatsu, who got a baptism of fire and only just came out without being burnt. Given how Watanabe have fast tracked prospects a win here really is a sign that they will push him, and push him hard. Don't be surprised to see him in another tough bout later in the year.
The final bout pitting the two nations against each other saw Korean prospect Jeong Han Cha (5-1, 5) [차정한] will suffer his first loss, coming up short against Japanese puncher Takahiko Kobayashi (9-3, 7) [小林孝彦]. Cha was hurt in round 2 then dropped at the end of the round. Had the round gone on much longer the Korean could have been stopped there. He was hurt again in round 3, before being saved by the referee late in round 4.
Sadly this will be a show for Korean fighters to forget, whilst the Japanese will clearly have a reason to celebrate.
Tomorrow we'll see a solid Japan Vs Korea show at the Korakuen Hall.
For us, the most interesting of the bouts on the card features Korean teenager Jeong Han Cha (5-0, 5) [차정한] taking on Japan's Takahiko Kobayashi (8-3, 6) [小林孝彦]. On paper both of these guys can punch, both are exciting and both come to fight. Whilst they each have their limitations they should make for a fantastic, fan friendly contest between themselves when they get in the ring.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 140lbs Light Welterweight limit.
On the scales the local was the heavier man, coming in around 139.7lbs whilst the Korean visitor was slightly lighter, at a little over 139.3lbs.
Both fighters looked in good condition, both seemed to be confident and it seems like both will be going for an early finish. Kobayashi suggested he would finish the bout within 2 rounds, whilst Cha hasn't got a reputation as exciting puncher for no reason, so we may well end up with something very, very special here.
Related - Jeon Han Cha - The Teenage Hope of Korea
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the last 48 hours BoxingM have revealed that there is a Korea Vs Japan show being put together for June 25th at the Korakuen Hall. At the moment the full details of the show haven't been officially announced, but there are some really interesting names already already linked the to card.
From the Korean side we're glad to hear that rising prospect Jeong Han Cha (5-0, 5) [차정한] will feature, with the 18 year old scheduled to face Takahiko Kobayashi (8-3, 6) [小林孝彦], in what could be a very entertaining and exciting match up.
Another Korean teenager on the show will be In Soo Jang (5-1-1) [장인수], who will battle Japanese professional novice Suzumi Takayama (1-0, 1) [高山涼深], who was a former amateur standout.
Also announced for the card is Sang Geun Lee (6-0, 4) [이상근], who is set to take on a debuting Japanese fighter from the Watanabe gym, and Do Jin Lee (6-1-3) [이도진] will face Japan's Mirai Naito (7-1, 3) [内藤未来]
Earlier today at the Citizen Hall in Dongducheon, South Korea fans had their latest chance to see rising Korean teenager prospect Jeong Han Cha (5-0, 5) [차정한] score his latest win, stopping the previously unbeaten Yun Seong Kim (3-1, 1) [김윤성] in the second round.
The bout, which was scheduled for 6 rounds, was a genuine real test for the 18 year old Cha, who really is a baby faced destroyer. In the end however the bout ended up being a bit of a beating for the 24 year old Kim, who struggled to cope with the power and aggression of the younger man, despite having a good opening round.
Cha applied pressure in the first round, looking to control the bout with his heavy jab and powerful straight left. Despite being under pressure Kim did have some real moments of success, fighting like a man who was wary of Cha's vaunted power. Kim managed to keep the fight at range during the opening round and countered really well when Cha missed. The counters of Kim left Cha with a bloodied nose and also seemed to rock him part way through the round.
Sadly for Kim the pressure from Cha intensified in round 2, with Cha really moving through the gears. He quickly dragged Kim into his fight and let his combinations go up close, rather than sticking to single shots as he had in the opening rounds. Kim had some moments when the men traded blows, but he would go crumple in a heap from a straight left hand to the body in a delayed reaction.
The shot, which was really easy to miss on first viewing in real time, was replayed several times and really did look an absolute peach of a shot, though was seemingly ruled low with the bout continuing after Kim had time to recover. When the bout resumed Cha was back on the offensive and dropped Kim a second time, this time landing head shots. Kim would be counted out this time.
Despite the win there was a lot of areas for Cha to improve on. He is one of, if not the, best prospect in Korea with a style that resembles the great Korean's of the past, with brutal power in both hands. Defensively there are holes there, that his team need to work on, which were shown in the opening round, but few can argue with just how exciting he is.
Cha, more than anyone other fighter in Korea right now, looks like a throw back to the Korean golden age, and for the sake of the sport in Korea we hope he can tidy up his defensive work and go on to become one of the country's next big stars.
Back in October we spoke excitedly about Korean teenager Jeong Han Cha (4-0, 4) [차정한], who had just scored his third win at the time. Today he was back in the ring and again picked up a stoppage win, as he took out Gun Ho Lee (3-2, 1) [이건호] in 3 rounds.
The bout was the second meeting between the two, who also fought in February when Cha stopped Lee in 2 rounds, and despite this one going longer the 18 year again picked up the win and continued his momentum, which is really building up more than that of almost all his countrymen.
Although footage of this bout isn't available, yet at least, we have been told that Cha again impressed.
It's too early to claim that Cha will rebuild the Korean scene, but he did make it into our "19 for 19" list, in the teenager's section, and he does look like a genuinely fun, exciting, hard hitting prospect. He's probably not going to single handedly put Korean boxing back on the map, but he could be part of the charge that does eventually help Korean boxing get back on it's feet.
We do have high hopes for Cha and really hope BoxingM help him develop his skills and experience, rather than push him into international bouts before he's read. He's one of the very best things in Korean boxing, and should be matched like the promising youngster than he is.
For those who want to read the first the aforementioned "19 for 19" you can click here 19 for 19: Part 1 - The Teenage Prospects and see what we said about Cha there.
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