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.
The first Asian show of 2020 is set to take place tomorrow in Korea thanks to Boxing M, sadly however it's not going to go ahead without at least 1 hiccup.
KBM have revealed that the proposed main event bout for the card, which would have been an 8 rounder between local hopeful Nam Jun Lee (10-6-3, 4) [이남준] and Filipino fighter Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3) has now been cancelled.
The full reason for the cancellation hasn't been made totally clear, though those working for KBM have stated that it was Lee who cancelled the bout.
With the cancellation it leaves the show with just 5 bouts, though 3 of those are title KBM eliminators, and include two of Korea's brightest young fighters.
One of those is 140lb fighter Da Won Gang (3-0, 1) [강다원], who takes on Jin Soo Kim (6-7-1, 3) [김진수] in a 6 round bout, with the winner set to get a title fight later in the year. The 19 year old Gang has been rated very highly by our Korean sources, who have raved about the youngster's skills from seeing him in training. Although yet to truly shine in professional ranks he did win the KBM "Battle Royal" in 2019 and is certainly being moved well for such a young novice.
The other of those youngsters is Light Middleweight Sung Min Yuh (3-0) [유성민], who looks to build on his success from 2019 by facing Se Yul Yang (3-4-2, 1) [양세열] in an eliminator. If Yuh wins he will likely set up a rematch with Yoo Seung Jun (6-1) [전유승] battle against Seung Hee Lee (4-6, 1) [이승희] for the KBM title later in 2020. Notably Yuh beat Jun in the Battle Royal final last November, so there is an interesting sub story at play here, if they two do rematch later this year.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!