Earlier today we got the first Korean card of 2020, and it was a small one from Korea, in a gym that seem to hold about 25 fans. Although a small show, it was a significant one, with a trio of Korean Boxing M (KBM) title eliminators on it, involving some of the most promising young Korean talent.
The show opened with Tae Woong Jung (5-3-2, 4) [정태웅] taking a decision over Filipino veteran Michael Landero (19-16-4, 8). To his credit Landero wasn't there to make up the numbers, and fought like a man trying to pick up his 20th career win. He was however a touch too slow and Jun simply out worked him, in what was an entertaining show opener. It is worth noting that whilst Landero was there to win, he had missed weight by over 3lbs yesterday and was forced to wear bigger gloves than Jung as a punishment.
The second bout was another between a youngster and a veteran as Jae Hyun Jo (4-1-3, 1) [ 조재현] out pointed the slippery and experienced Chul Hyun Lim (5-15-2, 3) [임철현 ]. Through out the bout Jo, who went 0-1-3 in his first 4 bouts, was busier and picking the better shots but to his credit Lim was crafty, and landed some very nice counters. This was generally fought at a slower pace than we're used to see in Korea but heated up nicely and the final round saw Lim go for it. A good win for Jo that he will learn a lot from even if he didn't really look sensational.
One man who did take his chance to shine was teenager Da Won Gang (4-0, 2) [강다원], who stopped Jin Soo Kim (3-3-1, 3) [김진수] in the first round of their 140lbs KBM title eliminator. Gang seemed to have some issues with the southpaw stance of Kim but rolled forward regardless, dropping Kim twice in the opening round to force the stoppage. The performance wasn't flawless but the result is exactly what Gang would have wanted, and a great way to kick off 2020 following his tournament triumph in "Battle Royal" last year.
A second title eliminator saw the talented and very promising Sung Min Yuh (4-0) [유성민] take a decision over the gutsy but limited Se Yul Yang (3-5-2, 1) [양세열], in a bout at 154lbs. Through out the bout Yang seemed to want to win, he was the man with the will, but he was well and truly out of his depth. Yuh went through the motions, and regularly seemed like he was playing to the scattering of fans at the gym. Yuh's work rate was awful, his defense sloppy and his effort was limited. However when Yuh let his hands go he showed flashes of brilliance, with fantastic uppercuts on the inside, great counters and very classy body shots. It seems very clear that Yuh is a natural talent, as you'd expect given he won "Battle Royal" last year, but he needs to change his attitude when his competition steps up.
The show ended with a second eliminator at 154lbs. This saw Yoo Seung Jun (7-1) [전유승], who lost to Sung Min Yuh in the "Battle Royal" final last year, take on Seung Hee Lee (4-7, 1) [이승희]. After 6 rounds we went to the score-cards in what seemed like a close one, with Lee the much busier man, but Jun landing the better shots, and showing better ring craft. In the end the decision went to Jun, paving the way for a rematch with Yuh for the KBM title. If we're being honest Lee gave Jun a real test here, and Lee would have made for a very interesting fight for Yuh, give his performance on the show.
Yuh Vs Jun II could be very good, but it could also be a very frustrating bout if neither man can find the intensity to show what they can do on a consistent basis through a fight. Both are talented, but neither showed the will of their opponents tonight, and that was a shame.
(Image from the weigh in between Gang and Kim courtesy of Boxing M)
The second of 3 title fights in Korea today saw Filipino veteran Michael Landero (19-15-4, 8) take on Korean teenager Sang Hun Oh (6-1, 4) [오상헌] for the KBF Bantamweight title
The 33 year old Landero was once a really good fighter, and a former OPBF champion with wins against the likes of Kenichi Horikawa, Yasutaka Kuroki and Warlito Parrenas. Sadly at Bantamweight he looked completely dwarfed by Oh, and it was clear Landero wasn't a natural at the weight.
Oh seemed very relaxed coming in and took the fight to Landero. Whilst mostly in control through the first round, the Korean he was rocked when Landero managed to fire back part way through the round. That seemed to earn Landero the respect of the Korean who showed much more caution in round 2.
Despite being under-sized Landero was showing that he had the better skills and ring craft in the second round, pressing Oh backwards and finding a home for his right hand whilst blocking and a lot of Oh's shots. Sadly though it was a big effort for the Filipino who was more than 2 years removed from his last, and was a high risk strategy, taking it to the younger, stronger, bigger man.
In round 3 Oh's size, youth and energy took over the fight, with the youngster pinning Landero on the ropes and going to town on him with a long and sustained assault that forced the Filipino into a defensive shell. Oh unloaded and in some countries the referee would have stepped in but here the referee allowed the fight to continue and Landero made it to the bell.
Coming out for round 4 seemed a poor decision for Landero, and early in the round Oh put him down with a body shot. Landero's toughness saw him get to his feet, but a follow up left the referee with no option but to step in.
With this win the 19 year old claims his biggest win to date, and bounces back from May's loss to Kyung Min Kwon. As for Landero we hope he retires, though we have a suspicion he will have around as a journeyman and take a lot more punishment before finally hanging them up.
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