Despite Covid19 still ravaging the world right now sport is one of the few escapes some of us have, and boxing is obviously the escape we've chosen. Sadly there are very few boxing events dotted about the calendar for the month of January, so when we get them we do need to hope for something exciting, memorable and action packed.
Today, in the first Korean of 2021, we get exactly that as Buffalo Promotion gave us something spectacular in Seoul.
The show was just a 5 bout show, though all 4 under card bouts were incredible. The first 2 bouts from the show were just amazing, non stop 4 round wars well worthy of a much, much bigger event. The second two undercard bouts were still solid, but not quite as action packed as the contests that opened the show.
After 4 brilliantly captivating under-card bouts we finally got on to the main event, and that had high expectations to begin with, as teenager Jong Seon Kang (12-0-2, 6) [강종선] battled Nam Jun Lee (11-7-3, 5) [이남준] in a contest for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title.
Over the last few years Kang has earned a reputation as one of the most fan friendly fighters on the planet and despite being just 19 years old his wars have become some of the most exciting bouts out there. Lee on the other hand was a known tough guy, who had gone the distance against the likes of Shuya Masaki, Masatoshi Kotani and Pan Soo Kim. Together they were expected to make for a very exciting bout. That meant going in we were expecting something special.
It really didn't matter what we expected however this over delivered, from the fight round to the final bell this was fought at an electric pace with brilliant action, and Kang, being Kang.
Early on the bout was fought at mid range, with Kang using his longer, sharper, quicker, jab and establishing control at range. He could, and maybe should, have done that all night long. That however isn't Kang's MO. Instead is made to entertain and from the middle rounds he tried to take Lee out, moving through the gears and taking the fight on the inside, regularly pinning Lee on the ropes and unloading huge shots, getting in and working the uppercuts, firing hooks to the head and body and trying to break down and beat up the legitimate tough guy in front of him.
Lee wasn't there just making up the numbers. He tried fighting back, he tried battling, and he let his own hands go. He tried to maintain the pace and tempo with Kang but couldn't. Instead he had to try and pick his moments, hoping Kang would tire himself out and slow down, two things that never really happened. He dug deep, he landed numerous shots on to Kang's face, and even seemed to leave Kang with a bloodied nose and a very reddened face early on, but even that couldn't couldn't stop the teenager from coming forward.
As the rounds went on it seemed like both men were being chipped away at. For Lee the punishment he was taking was adding up. He had been hurt a number of times, but gutted it out and fired back. For Kang the insane tempo and work rate had to be draining, especially with what looked a badly damaged nose for most of the fight. The accumulated damage saw both men shaken and hurt in round 11, and it seemed like either man could go on to force a stoppage. Amazingly however the men saw out not only round 11 but also round 12.
After the bout somehow went 12 rounds we went to the scorecards, and the judges favoured the 19 year old Kang, who seemed the very worthy winner. Sadly though this was another draining and punishing war for the teenager who is unlikely to have a long career, but will have a fantastically fun one to follow.
As for Lee he's now 37 and we do wonder if maybe he put it all into this bout and should perhaps consider retiring on a high. It was a loss for him, but the bout is a legitimate early for the Fight of the Year, that might well be the perfect way for him to bow out.
Through out the entire 12 rounds there was pretty much no clinching, a nice mix of outside boxing, and inside battling, it was fought at an incredible tempo from round 1 to round 12 and it will, genuinely, go down as one of the best off 2021. It intense, exciting, punishing and totally exhilarating. If you missed it, you need to do everything you can to watch it as soon as possible. It is that good, that violent, that brutal and that exciting!
Tomorrow fight fans wanting a bit of weekend action will get the chance to see a potentially sensational bout from Korea as thrill a minute teenager Jong Seon Kang (11-0-2, 6) [강종선] takes on Nam Jun Lee (11-6-3, 5) [이남준] in what should be a sensational war for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title.
The 19 year old Kang is one of the most exciting young fighters in the sport. Technically he is very limited but wars with Qixiu Zhang, Tomjune Mangubat and Seung Hyun Lee have endeared him to fans of the Korean scene who know, when they watch him, that they are in for a treat. Despite only being 19 he has tasted silverware before winning the WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Featherweight title and the WBO Youth Featherweight title.
Lee on the other hand is a veteran, at 37, but is very much a battled hardened fighter who beat Sa Myung Noh in 2017 and went the distance with Japan's Shuya Masaki in 2019.
Earlier today the two men took part in their weigh in and from what we understand both men made weight without any issues.
As well as the main event there is also 4 under-card bouts planned for the show, which will be the first in Korea in 2021.
The KBA have have announced that fans will not be in attendance for the event, but that a live stream of the show, starting at 2PM Korean time, will be available on this YouTube channel:
Yesterday the Korean Boxing Association (KBA), announced that they had two shows set to take place in December. Though details for both were scant with only a single bout announced for each show.
The first of those will take place on December 12th in Incheon Metropolitan City. The one bout announced for this show is a WBO Oriental Featherweight title bout between Jong Seon Kang (11-0-2, 6) [강종선] and Nam Jun Lee (11-6-3, 5) [이남준]. This bout should be a real thriller, as Kang is always in fun bouts, has a high rate and exciting style, and despite Lee being no world beater he does have the tools to ask questions at this type of level as shown in his wins against the likes of Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera.
From what we under-stand this show was supposed to feature a bout between Korean tough guy In Duck Seo (13-3-2, 7) [서인덕] take on Filipino Jayar Inson (18-3, 12). Interestingly that bout was cancelled this week due to an increase in Covid19 cases in South Korea, making the announcement yesterday feel like perhaps the entire show will be off in coming days as well.
The second show is pencilled in for December 19th, though again may end up being scrapped if Covid19 continues to increase in South Korea. This show will be headlined a KBA Heavyweight title fight between Sang Ho Kim (7-3-1, 1) [김상호] and Sung Jin Kwak (6-1, 5) [곽성진]. This show is targeted to take place in Daejeon Metropolitan City.
As with the December 12th show there is doubt this will take place, though with the KBA only announcing the shows yesterday it seems likely that they will be taking place, despite the issues with Covid19 in South Korea.
Earlier today in South Korea we ended up getting a rather fun filled card from Bucehon with 8 bouts on it. The card, although not a massive one, was a highly anticipated one with a great all-Korean main event, and a co-feature that included one of the brightest and most exciting young talents in Korea.
Before we get into the main bouts we just want to say a few things about the under-card.
First the match up between Min Hyuk Jang (6-0, 5) [장민혁] and Won Hyung Yoon (2-5-1, 1) [윤원형] was much more entertaining than it had any right to be. Yoon came out for the upset and first 3 rounds he held his own with the unbeaten puncher. Sadly for Yoon from 4 onwards he ended up taking a beating, as Jang took home a clear decision. Jang had Yoon hurt through rounds 5 and 6, with blood coming from the mouth of Yoon, who managed to hear the final bell. A gutsy effort from Yoon, but one that will surely see him waking up in pain tomorrow.
Secondly we were really impressed by Young Joon Cho (1-0) [조영준], as he over-came Ji Ho Kook (1-4-1, 1) [국지호]. The talented Cho looked in control through out, though was caught a few times when he elected to stand and trade, making for some really entertaining action. If Cho can tighten up a bit defensively he could genuinely be someone who can make a mark at the regional level in the future.
So on to the main bouts. The first of those saw the unbeaten Jong Seon Kang (11-0-2, 6) [강종선] extend his unbeaten record with a 6 round decision victory over Seung Hyun Lee (3-3, 1) [이승현]. This wasn't the original bout for this card, but it was a pretty entertaining bout. Kang continually came forward, pinning Lee on the ropes, with Lee having some success with his counters, but in the end Kand seemed to come out the clear winner against a game opponent. Despite the win Kang was left with a bloodied nose.
It's worth noting that whilst the bout doesn't look good on paper Lee was actually a short notice opponent for Seong Yeong Yang (8-2-5, 4) [양성영], who was suffering from acute gastritis, forcing him out of the contest. Fingers crossed we do get Kang Vs Yang down the line, as that has the makings of a tremendous war.
The main event saw a new WBA Asia Welterweight champion being crowned as In Duck Seo (13-3-2, 7) [서인덕] over-came Jung Kyoung Lee (8-4-1, 4) [이중경] in a really compelling match up that had drama and controversy.
The opening round saw Seo come forward and pressure his countryman. Lee soaked up the pressure well, moving, countering and making the most of his superior foot speed and hand speed. From round 2 Lee began to box wonderfully, showing off a slick style of boxing not often associated with Korean boxers.
From round 2 to round 5 Lee was in control, he was boxing brilliantly, clearly winning rounds with his skills, movement and accuracy and seemed to make Seo completely doubt himself. He had no answer for Lee's southpaw stance, his jab or his movement. It seemed we were on the way to a clear Lee win.
Then we saw the momentum of the bout shift, with the final round of round 6 being a huge one for Seo, who's pressure began to tell, for the first time in the fight. It wasn't a clear round for Seo, by any stretch of the imagination, but it did begin a clear fight back by him, and he had a huge round 7, with Lee pinned on the ropes for much of the round. It seemed like Seo's pressure, pressure, pressure gameplan was taking a toll on Lee, who had used up a lot of energy with his movement.
In round 8 we saw momentum shift again, with Lee getting back to what had been so successful early on. Seo couldn't keep up the output he had shown in the latter stages of round 6 or in round 7 and he opened the door for Lee once again. Round 8 was also notable for a nasty headclash late in the round that left both men in agony as we went to the bell.
Just as it began to seem like Seo was tiring he then put his foot back on the gas in round 9, and he really went after his man in round 9, trying to break him down and rip him up. Lee tried to fight back, but now now he was clearly struggling to get Seo's respect and Seo had gone into terminator mode. Lee tried to neutralise the pressure in round 10, but by the end of the round Seo was all over him and it seemed like Lee was beginning to run on fumes. At one point in round 10 Lee was trapped in his corner whilst Seo went to work, making a statement and hurting Lee.
The 10th round was a brilliant 3 minutes of action and a real treat, but sadly we weren't to see any more. Before round 11 began Lee was taken to the ringside doctor who decided that he was unfit to continue.
There was then a few moments of pause, before Seo and his team celebrated with him having his hand raised. Unfortunately our Korean isn't great and whilst it could have been a TKO for Seo, based on the cut, our under-standing is that was actually technical decision* for Seo.
What ever the specific result, it did end up with Seo being crowned the new WBA Asia Champion, and claiming one of the biggest wins of his career. As for Lee this is his second loss in 3 bouts, following a 2019 loss to Akinori Watanabe in an OPBF title, bout at 154lbs.
*Please note we are awaiting clarification on the outcome
We're sad to learn today that the brilliant looking match up between Jong Seon Kang (10-0-2, 6) [강종선] and Seong Yeong Yang (8-2-5, 4) [양성영], set for August 8th, has had to be cancelled at late notice.
The KBA have revealed that Yang has had to be replaced due to suffering from acute gastritis, forcing the bout, which had us genuinely excited, to be pulled.
Instead of getting Kang Vs Yang, in what would have been a sure fire war, we'll instead see Kang facing late replacement Seung Hyun Lee (3-2, 1) [이승현], who will be fighting for the first time since losing a decision in April 2017.
The two men will be fighting over 6 rounds.
It's a real shame that Kang Vs Yang won't be taking place this weekend, though we suspect the hope, from both teams, will be to get that bout re-arranged for when Yang is recovered from his illness.
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