Earlier this week the KBM announced the situation regarding their Heavyweight title, and they have cleared up a situation that could have ended up rather messy.
Originally the plan, way back in February, was for KBM Heavyweight champion Sung Min Lee (7-1, 2) [이성민] to face Japanese national champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] in Tokyo, in March. After that was made impossible, due to the ongoing global situation, the plan was then for Lee to vacate the title and give the opportunity to crown a new champion to two other fighters.
The plan there was for Jong Kook Kim (6-1, 3) [김종국] to face Jae Min Kim (2-3-2, 1) [김재민], and with Lee to get a shot at the winner down the line.
Sadly those plans have also gone awry with Jong Kook Kim being unable to fight. As a result a decision has been made for Lee not to vacate the title but instead he will defend the belt against Jae Min Kim, at some point in October, in what will be Lee's first defense of the title. We suspect the winner will then be expected to defend against Jong Kook Kim, unless he can get over to Japan for a potential bout with Ueda.
This whole situation has become a bit of a mess, but it is good to see the KBM finally sorting things out for the future of the title. It's just a shame that Sung Min Lee Vs Jae Min Kim is probably the least interesting of all the possibilities, at least on paper.
Lee is a decent fighter, nothing amazing, but very decent and is riding a 6 fight winning run, including his title win. He's unbeaten since his second professional bout more than 3 years ago. The 29 year old is full of confidence, and despite suffering an injury earlier this year he does appear to be going forward with his career and coming into his prime.
Kim on the other hand is a 38 year old, who hasn't fought since February 2019 and is very much a limited fighter, who has never beaten an opponent with a win to their name.
(Image courtesy of KBM)
According to multiple Korean sources we'll see Japanese Heavyweight champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] defending his belt on March 10th in an at Korakuen Hall, albeit not against a Japanese challenger.
The sources from Korea have explained that Sung Min Lee (7-1, 2) [이성민], the former KBM Heavyweight champion, will be the one challenging Ueda. With the bout coming under the same rule that will allow Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) to fight for the Japanese Minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆] on March 17th.
This bout comes under a rule that allows fighters from one OPBF affiliated country to fight for the national titles of other OPBF countries.
For Ueda this will be his first defense, following his victory in December over the now retired Kotatsu Takehara (15-13-3, 8) [竹原真敬], whilst Lee will be looking to claim his biggest win to date.
As is the rule with this type of bout, if Ueda wins it counts as a successful defense of the title, and extends his reign. If he losses Lee will be the champion, until he leaves Japan. In theory he could defend the belt, if he wins, but in practice it would seem unlikely that he would stick around in Japan to extend his reign.
Interestingly Lee has vacated the KBM title due to this opportunity. Originally the plan had been for Lee to defend the title February 16th against Jong Kook Kim (6-1, 3) [김종국], before Sung Min Lee suffered an injury back in January.
Kim will now face off with Jae Min Kim (2-3-2, 1) [김재민] for the vacant KBM title, with their bout scheduled to take place at some point in March, though no date has yet been set aside for the bout.
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)
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