Earlier today in Seoul we saw a KBC Featherweight title bout as defending champion Urmat Amankulov (5-1-2, 4) [우르마트.아만크루프] took on Dong Kwan Lee (14-2-2, 6) [이동관] clashed in an entertaining battle on a show promoted by Hannam Promotions.
From the early going this was exciting and entertaining with Amankulov pressing forward and Lee being forced to fight off the back foot, pick his moments to come forward and launch big shots off the back foot. This made for a fun dynamic, with a lot of big shots being thrown by both. It was however a more technical bout than we typically see in Korea, and both men were showing some defensive know how. For Amankulov there was a tight guard that he was boxing behind, and a nice jab setting up the distance. For Lee there was counter punching, he was using his lead hand to create space and some under-rated footwork to cope with Amankulov's pressure.
After a relatively competitive start we saw drama for the first time, as Amankulov was left cut, from a clash of heads in round 4. The cut was a nasty looking one, but it passed a doctors inspection and, to credit the corner, they took care care of it really well at the end of the round.
Despite being cut Amankulov wasn't discouraged and rocked Lee at the end of round 5 and again early in round 6 as Lee started to press more, and looked to turn the contest into a brawl. The brawling lead to more headclashes and in round 7 Amankulov ended up getting the worse of another nasty headclash. He wasn't cut this time, but was in pain and seemed to lose his composure just a touch when the fight resumed.
With the rounds ticking away the bout was becoming more and more of a fight. The exchanges were becoming more frequent, more brutal and more exciting as both men stood and let their hands go. Sadly for Lee however he seemed to be the one breaking off from the exchanges more often, and seemed to be the man who was more likely to want some space and time to work, whilst Amankulov marched forward, hunting his man.
It seemed Amankulov should have felt like he was in a comfortable lead heading into the 10th and final round. He, however, fought like a man who wanted a KO and continued hunting Lee, trying to get the fight up close with his pressure and high guard, then land his bombs up close. Lee, to his credit, tried to survive, hold spoil and was eventually forced to fight back, despite being tagged by some monstrous shots by Amankulov.
After 10 rounds Amankulov raised his arms in celebration whilst Lee looked a beaten man. Despite that we still went to the score cards and things were tense. A few moments later the scores were read out, and Lee had got the decision, becoming the new champion as a result, and taking a very questionable decision.
A few weeks ago we saw a short, temporary return to boxing in South Korea and Nicaragua, but since then the sport has essentially been back on hiatus. Thankfully it appears things are set to change in June with a number of people planning shows.
One of those shows now confirmed for June is a KBC show set for June 7th at the Legend Gym in Jungbong-ro.
The card, like many KBC shows, is nothing special but is scheduled to feature 6 bouts, all featuring professional novices.
From the 6 scheduled bouts on this card 5 will be set over a 4 round distance whilst the other is a 6 rounder.
Sadly none of the bouts are hugely interesting, with the main event being between Lee Man Suk (2-0) and Hyun Jin Kim (2-0-1, 2), but it is still great to see that boxing will be back in Korea again in June and the KBC are one of the ones leading the way for the sport in the country.
The Korean Boxing Committee have stated that the show will be run with social distancing, though it's not totally clear what the plan for the show is on a health basis, such as whether masks will worn and whether temperature checks will be done.
Earlier this year it seemed that KBC and KBF were set to bury the hatchet and begin to work together for the betterment of Korean boxing. It seemed like Korean boxing was set to have a unified body and was set have the best Korean fighters fighting the best Korean fighters. Sadly though the planning for "Dream Fights 2017" seems to have fallen apart and the show has now been cancelled, with the idea of unification being further away than ever before.
The two bodies had seemingly agreed to put on "Dream Fights 2017", but a falling out has seen the entire show being scrapped, with the KBC fighters who were given permission to fight on the show having that permission taken away. Much to the chargrin of the KBF who released a public statement on January 11th explaining their point of view on the whole mess, and the frustration between the two parties.
The statement, which we have featured below in Korean and in a rough English translation explains the KBF's view on the situation and a few other things, which we will try to quickly run through.
The KBF stated they were set up in 2015 and had seen their fighters persecuted by the KBC, who had been recognised by the WBC as the only official body in Korea. As a result of the WBC/KBC relationship the KBF fighters had found it hard to get international fights. They had, through the relationship between the head of the KBF and Hideyuki Ohashi, been able to bring some Japanese fighters over for KBF shows, but had been unable to send their fighters to Japan, with the KBC's permission. The JBC were prohibited from allowing KBF fighters to fight on their soil due to their commitments to the WBC and the OPBF, meaning any fighter from the KBF wanting to fight in had to get express permission from the KBC to do so, essentially allowing the KBC to have power over fighters thqt weren't even under their banner.
In November 2016 Jin Wook Lim, a KBF fighter, was given special permission to fight in Japan for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title on a one-off basis. It seemed like the KBC and the KBF were beginning to work together and that seemed to be the belief of the KBF which allowed Buffalo Promotions to arrange a co-body show, with the KBC agreeing. Sadly however it appears the two sides have fallen out time, with promises by the KBC not having been kept and the KBF now unable to sanction the bouts, with the KBF laying the blame firmly at the feet of KBC head honcho Hong Soo-hwan .
It seems now that Korean boxing has completely killed any dreams of unifying the two major bodies, and it could be a very long time until the two sides speak about a co-show again.
Again for fans interest we have features the Korean statement and the rough Enlgish translation below.
Earlier this month we reported that there would be a KBF Vs KBC show on January 22nd, with the show setting the two most notable Korean boxing bodies against each other in a remarkable, and potentially massive, show that could help Korean boxing develop in a huge way.
Today that sow was officially announced at the Ramada Hotel in Seoul with the fighters and the teams from the two bodies showing up for the press conference, and talking about the longer term plans.
It seems that both the KBF and KBC are proud of working together for the show, but neither view this as a one off, in stead they view it as the first step towards unifying the two bodies and creating a single major body in Korea, allowing them to fight the threats of the KPBF, KBA and BoxingM together.
At the moment there still seems to be a long way to go before that happens, but with a number of shows in the works for the joint venture it does look like something both parties are wanting to work towards, and both will be looking to do their best to improve Korean boxing. There is however still talks about what name the joint organisation will take, with both parties said to be determined to keep their name for the eventual unified body.
As for the boutson the show, the main event willsee Sa Myung Noh (9-2, 2) battle against Nam Joon Lee (8-5-3, 4) in a Featherweight bout set for 10 rounds. The bout is a genuinely intriguing one with Noh having mixed with the most notable names currently in Korean boxing, losing to Kin Wook Lim and Ye Joon Kim whilst holding a win over Teiru Atsumi, who has gone on to make waves in Japan. As for Lee he has valuable international experience with losses to Qiu Xiao Jun and Masatoshi Kotani but has shown in those defeats that he is a capable fighter and will have no fear at all of facing Noh.
The under-card features two other KBF Vs KBC bouts. One of those is an 8 round Welterweight contest which will see 18 year old I Hoon Jung (5-2-1, 4) face off with the unbeaten In Duck Seo (7-0, 4) whilst the other main support bout will be a Super Flyweight contest between Kyung Hwan Song (3-0, 1) and Yo Han Bae (7-2-1, 1), in what looks like a huge step up for the 19 year old Song.
If the KBC and KBF can work together, as they plan to do, for more than just a single show then we'll be able to get excited about Korean boxing once again. Fingers crossed that the two organisations are doing more than just talk here, but many in Korea have heard about unification for too long to just believe people when the word is mentioned.
(Image courtesy of the KBF)
The Korean boxing scene has essentially been a tough one to follow in recent years. Part of that is due to the lack of quality and part of that has been a frustrating civil war between two of the organisations in the country, the Korean Boxing Federation (KBF) and the Korean Boxing Commission (KBC). The two organisations have effectively split much of the talent in the country and and have caused issues to prevent boxing from really growing in the country.
Over the last few days however both organisations have revealed they will begin working together and will have a "KBF VS KBC" show on January 22nd, with the official press conference for the show set to take place at the Ramada Hotel in Seoul on January 9th.
Although the press conference is still days away both organisations have announced 11 bouts for the show, including 3 notable bouts between ranked contenders from the 2 bodies. That includes a Featherweight bout between a former KBF champion and the top ranked KBC fighter, and bouts at Welterweight and Super Flyweight featuring a #1 contender from one organisation facing a champion from the other organisation.
The show, dubbed "2017 Dream Fights" could be the start of a working relationship between the two organisations and potentially help rebuild Korean boxing, rather than have two sides of the street with fighters unable to really prove themselves as the best in the country.
The news has already drawn some excitement from Korean fans and is expected to draw more when the press conference takes place, however some have also shown some cynicism and seem to see the show as a one-off, rather than the start of a new era in Korean boxing. We'll admit we hope it's the start of a Korean boxing revival, especially given Min Wook Kim's retirement last year, but as has been the case in Korean boxing for a while it's hard to get too excited abiu the boxing scene in the country having seen how little talent the country has developed in the last few years.
(Image courtesy of the KBF)
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