Acording to reports in Korea we have seen the end of the exciting Min Wook Kim (16-1, 12) [김민욱] with the former OPBF Light Welterweigth champion retiring due to sight issues, issues that have been recurring through his career and have been a constant plague in recent years.
Kim had long been the most notable figure in Korean boxing, and is the last Korean fighter to have won an OPBF title, with his success having brougth him to the West in recent years, with several wins in North America. It seemed that he was moving on to bigger and better things in the US but unfortunately the injury woes curtailed those dreams of moving onto a world title bout.
Kim began his professional career back in 2010, suffering a 5th round TKO loss to the experienced and tough Taek Min Kim. That loss was quickly put behind him and just 2 years later he claimed the OPBF title, stopping Romeo Jakosalem. He would defend that title 4 times, scoring notable wins over Pan Soo Kim, Shinya Iwabuchi and Valentine Hosokawa, before relocating and basing himself Mexico, resurfacing after 19 months out of the ring.
In North America he became part of team around Leo Santa Cruz and went on to some minor success winning 5 bouts in the west, 4 by stoppage, with the latest of those being a destructive win over Louis Cruz back in July. Sadly though it seems that that will be his final career bout and sources have reported that he is retiring and has no intention of returning to the ring.
The loss is a huge one for Korean boxing with the country losing it's most notable fighter, though if it allows Kim to have a better quality of life going forward we can't criticise him too much and we hope him all the best in life, hopefully with his sight being saved.
Korean hopeful Min Wook Kim (16-1, 12) [김민욱] needed next to no time to score his latest victory as he easily saw off American Louis Cruz (11-2, 5).
The bout between the two men took part on the under-card of Leo Santa Cruz's bout with Carl Frampton and it a was a blink and you miss it affair with Kim needed just over 150 seconds to give Cruz his first stoppage loss.
The Korean, who was fighting in the US for the 4th time, had been out of the ring for some 5 months coming into this bout but showed no signs of ring rust dropping Cruz three times, with the stoppage coming after the third knockdown.
The bout showcased Kim's power and destructive ability and may well see him being given a more worthwhile opportunity in the near future, with his potential surely being worth more than a bout very low down a deep under-card.
Whilst Kim may have impressed those that saw him for Cruz the loss was an embarrassment with the American looking scared at the weigh in yesterday and appearing laughably fragile in the ring today. That however won't bother Kim who has stated that he would like to win a world title in the next year. If he got the right management, guidance and opportunities there is a genuine chance that could indeed become the first Korean world champion in a decade! Given his style there is also the potential for him to become the star that his talent deserves and could give Korean boxing the much needed shot in the arm, something it has sadly lacked since the untimely death of Yo Sam Choi.
Later today fans in New York will be able to see Korean hopeful, and former OPBF champion, Min Wook Kim (15-1, 11) [김민욱] battle against once beaten American Louis Cruz (11-1, 5) on the under-card of the Leo Santa Cruz/Carl Frampton bout. The fight with Kim may not get a huge amount of attention in the West but Kim is regarded as the best hope in Korean boxing, and potential the next Korean star.
Last night the two men weighed in for their bout and both came in under the Light Welterweight limit.
On the scales the Korean was 139lbs, a similar weight to what he's been over the last 6 years and he looked in great shape and incredibly confident. A less confident looking Cruz was slightly heavier at 139¼lbs. Again the weight was around his usual weight, and slightly lighter than he was last time out, when he was beaten by Michal Chudecki.
This bout should be a great chance for Kim to convince Al Haymon that he deserves more attention. Hopefully he shines and gets moved towards bigger bouts with Korean boxing really needing a genuine success story at the moment, and Kim is the best hope of that.
(Image courtesy of http://www.spotvnews.co.kr)
According to multiple Korean sources we will see the exciting puncher Min Wook Kim (15-1, 11) [김민욱] return to the ring later this month as he features on an under-card bout for the upcoming WBA Featherweight title bout between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton, and continues his working relationship with the team around Santa Cruz.
The Korean papers have stated that Kim will be up against the promising American 25 year old Louis Cruz (11-1, 5) in what will be Kim's 4th straight fight in the US,and his 5th in America, following a bout in Mexico.
Kim was, at one point, the star of boxing in Korea and could fill large relatively large arenas whilst defending his OPBF title. He however felt like ht did all he could in Korea and to chase a world title he has relocated to Mexico where he has started to gain a notable cult following from fans who have been able to see him on some pretty notable under-cards. That following has been helped by being part of the team involved with Leo Santa Cruz's career.
So far in the US he has only been on the under-card but has been racking up some activity with a couple of bouts this year and this one will be his 4th bout in 13 months, a long way from his "lost in the wilderness" stage that saw him spend more than a 18 months out of the ring. It will also mark a very clear step up in class from his last few bouts which have focused on shaking ring rust more than progressing his standing in the sport.
As for Cruz the relatively unknown American was, from what we understand, a good amateur before turning professional in 2012. His career got off to a good start, winning 11 straight before coming up short against Michal Chudecki this past January, in a foul filled beating for Cruz. He'll be looking to bounce back that loss, but will be taking on the biggest puncher of his career so far.
Although not yet listed on boxrec.com the bout has seemingly been released to the Korean press who interestingly state the bout will be televised on US TV which would be huge news for Kim and his career.
On Saturday fight fans in California had the chance to see Korean sensation Min Wook Kim (15-1, 11) [김민욱] pick up his latest win, as he over-came the gritty but out classed Alvaro Ortiz (7-7-1, 5) in an 8 round contest.
The Korean fighter, fighting in the US for the third time, was on the under-card of the WBA Featherweight "Super" title fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Kiko Martinez and did more than enough to claim all 8 rounds, posting an 80-72 shut out for the win.
The Korean fighter was expected to win, and in fact he was really expected to score KO win over his limited Mexican opponent, though he will take plenty of positives from the performance. Firstly he'll be happy to have gotten some much needed rounds under his belt having fought just 7 rounds in his previous 3 bouts, in fact he had only had 7 rounds in the last 2 years of his career. Secondly he'll have been glad to remain active, with this bout coming just weeks after his previous contest, and he'll also be glad that he got the chance to be part of a big under-card.
Although Kim would have liked a third successive stoppage win on US soil there is a lot to take from this fight and it's likely that his team will be pushing for bigger and better fights now rather than more 8 rounders. Whilst he's not yet ready for a world title fight there is some sense in putting him in with fringe contenders later this year, and giving him some TV exposure so that more fans can see what the fuss is about when it comes to the "Snyper".
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