Earlier this week the KBM announced the situation regarding their Heavyweight title, and they have cleared up a situation that could have ended up rather messy.
Originally the plan, way back in February, was for KBM Heavyweight champion Sung Min Lee (7-1, 2) [이성민] to face Japanese national champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] in Tokyo, in March. After that was made impossible, due to the ongoing global situation, the plan was then for Lee to vacate the title and give the opportunity to crown a new champion to two other fighters.
The plan there was for Jong Kook Kim (6-1, 3) [김종국] to face Jae Min Kim (2-3-2, 1) [김재민], and with Lee to get a shot at the winner down the line.
Sadly those plans have also gone awry with Jong Kook Kim being unable to fight. As a result a decision has been made for Lee not to vacate the title but instead he will defend the belt against Jae Min Kim, at some point in October, in what will be Lee's first defense of the title. We suspect the winner will then be expected to defend against Jong Kook Kim, unless he can get over to Japan for a potential bout with Ueda.
This whole situation has become a bit of a mess, but it is good to see the KBM finally sorting things out for the future of the title. It's just a shame that Sung Min Lee Vs Jae Min Kim is probably the least interesting of all the possibilities, at least on paper.
Lee is a decent fighter, nothing amazing, but very decent and is riding a 6 fight winning run, including his title win. He's unbeaten since his second professional bout more than 3 years ago. The 29 year old is full of confidence, and despite suffering an injury earlier this year he does appear to be going forward with his career and coming into his prime.
Kim on the other hand is a 38 year old, who hasn't fought since February 2019 and is very much a limited fighter, who has never beaten an opponent with a win to their name.
(Image courtesy of KBM)
According to multiple Korean sources we'll see Japanese Heavyweight champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] defending his belt on March 10th in an at Korakuen Hall, albeit not against a Japanese challenger.
The sources from Korea have explained that Sung Min Lee (7-1, 2) [이성민], the former KBM Heavyweight champion, will be the one challenging Ueda. With the bout coming under the same rule that will allow Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) to fight for the Japanese Minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆] on March 17th.
This bout comes under a rule that allows fighters from one OPBF affiliated country to fight for the national titles of other OPBF countries.
For Ueda this will be his first defense, following his victory in December over the now retired Kotatsu Takehara (15-13-3, 8) [竹原真敬], whilst Lee will be looking to claim his biggest win to date.
As is the rule with this type of bout, if Ueda wins it counts as a successful defense of the title, and extends his reign. If he losses Lee will be the champion, until he leaves Japan. In theory he could defend the belt, if he wins, but in practice it would seem unlikely that he would stick around in Japan to extend his reign.
Interestingly Lee has vacated the KBM title due to this opportunity. Originally the plan had been for Lee to defend the title February 16th against Jong Kook Kim (6-1, 3) [김종국], before Sung Min Lee suffered an injury back in January.
Kim will now face off with Jae Min Kim (2-3-2, 1) [김재민] for the vacant KBM title, with their bout scheduled to take place at some point in March, though no date has yet been set aside for the bout.
Next weekend we'll see former Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto take part in a career defining bout, as he takes on Daniel Dubois in the UK. Although the under dog that is still a huge fight for Kyotaro.
Earlier this year Kyotaro ended his domestic reign, vacating the Japanese title to focus on bigger challenges, such as Dubois, and today we saw the vacancy Kyotaro left, being filled as Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] and Kotatsu Takehara (15-13-3, 8) [竹原真敬] battled for the vacant title.
This wasn't the first time Ueda and Takehara had fought. They had faced off in May 2016, when Takehara stopped Ueda, but at 41 years old Takehara was up against it, especially given that Ueda was now in is physical prime at 27 years old.
Despite losing the first time they fought Ueda showed no fear here and was letting combinations go as Takehara brought the pressure. The older man was slow, he has been for years, but was coming forward with intent and showed little respect of Ueda's output. Takehara's his saw him walking into shots as a result and taking damage, with his both of his eyes being cut early on, but he was getting off the bigger shots, and took many of the early rounds.
After 5 rounds Takehara was up on two of the score-cards 49-46 and 48-47, with the other judge having Ueda up 48-47.
Ueda would be cut himself as he looked to try and turn the scores around, throwing more shots, standing his ground more and increasing his work rate notably. By round 8 both men were looking tired, but digging deep.
In round 8 Ueda was cut from a headclash, but dug deep and in round 10 the two men engaged in a toe-to-toe war as they gave it their all in the final round of a very competitive bout.
The final round proved significant on the cards, with all 3 judges giving it to Ueda, who won 96-94.
Following the bout Takehara announced that he was retiring, after what has been a remarkably notable career as one of the leading figures of the Japanese Heavyweight scene over almost 20 years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Japan fans will get an interesting card, albeit a small one.
The main event of the card will see Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) [竹原真敬] battle against Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5) [上田龍], with the two men looking to claim the Japanese Heavyweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Kyotaro Fujimoto.
Ahead of the their bout, which is actually a rematch, the two big men weighed in.
On the scales Takehara was the much heavier man. He came in at 111.2KG's, which is just over 245lbs. This is one of the heaviest weights of his career and more than 14lbs heavier than he was in 2016 when he stopped Ueda in the first men between the two men.
Ueda on the other hand was 103.3KG's, or 227.7lbs, the second heaviest of his career and more than 16lbs heavier than he was in the first bout with Takehara.
Another notable bout on this card will see former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (11-5, 8) [高野人母美] fight in Japan for the first time in over 2 years, as she takes on Sachiko Kondo (2-4-2) [近藤佐知子].
Takano, who recently revealed that was an ambassador for UK sporting wear company Lonsdale, weighed in at around 111.3lbs, the same weight as Kondo.
Related - Takehara and Ueda rematch for Japanese Heavyweight title!
Earlier today the Boxing Raise service announced their line up for December, and sadly it has no live show available this month. Thankfully however the service is still set to get a lot of action during the month, ranging from some great fights at domestic level, to a world title eliminator, and various things in between.
Firstly they will get the On Demand rights of the November 17th Sanei Pro Fight Boxing, which will be uploaded on December 5th.
The next show they have is the December 8th Real Spirits card, headlined by a brilliant WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title bout, pitting champion Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) [森 武蔵] against once beaten challenger Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14) [水野拓哉]. The card after that will be the Green Dream show on December 15th, headlined by a bout between Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) [竹原真敬] and Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5) [上田龍], who battle for the Japanese Heavyweight title.
The next card they will have will be the Kadoebi card from December 16th, headlined by OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) [渡部あきのり] defending his title against Thai challenger Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6).
Unsurprisingly the December 22nd Muto card will also be available on tape delay, with the card actually clashing with the Rookie of the Year final. This show is headlined by WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹]defending his title against South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4).
After Christmas we'll see a late present with the service bringing up the IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator between Sho Ishida (28-1, 15) [石田 匠] and Israel Gonzalez (24-3, 11).
While it's disappointing to not have a live card this month, the quality of shows, overall, is solid and with all the other shows on television in December we are set to have a great run in to the end of the year!
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