During this series there has been some consistencies. These include our love of come forward Korean tough guys, and more exactly seeing them meet their match, facing someone who comes forward at them. The fact two guys come forward with amazing toughness, amazing work rate, and an all action style
Young Kyun Park (19-1-1, 11) Vs Eloy Rojas (22-0, 21)
A few weeks ago in one of these we focused on Young Kyun Park's brilliant bout with Seiji Asakawa. Just before that bout Park fought in the first of 3 bouts with talented Venezuelan Eloy Rojas, with Park looking to defend the WBA Featherweight title. For those that saw Park's but with Asakawa they should know what to expect from him. Rojas on the other hand was looking like a monster at this point in time, and would be a major player on the Featherweight rankings into the mid 90's.
For those that didn't see Park's bout with Asakawa, the Korean was very much in the mould of what we expect Korean fighters to be like. He was crude, he was technically raw, he was unpolished, but he was hyper aggressive, super tough, incredibly strong, and someone who set a high tempo from the off. He was dubbed the "Bulldozer" in the Korean press and that sort of sums him up quite well. When watching his fights don't expect smart boxing, incredible defensive nous and ring IQ. Instead his fights resembled a man who would take a sledgehammer to a walnut. His entire mentality was come forward, throw punches, and if he had to eat one so be it. He was just relentless.
Up to this point Rojas had mostly fought limited competition, but had travelled all over the place. He had began his career in Venezuela, before travelling away from home, going to Holland, Curaçao, Japan and then to South Korea for this bout. On paper he looked like a monster, with 21 stoppages in 22 bouts, and in fact all 21 one of those stoppages had come in a row following a decision in his 1986 debut. Despite his record this was regarded as a massive step up. He really hadn't faced anyone of any note, but was clearly to be regarded as a danger man.
So coming in we had a man known as a "bulldozer" taking on a man who had a 95% knock out rate. This looked like it could be explosive!
When going up against a relatively unknown dangerous looking fighter we expected a little bit of restraint from anyone. Park on the other hand had a different logic. Straight from the bell he was pressing forward, showing a surprising amount of upper body movement whilst coming forward. Rojas tried to box, using his jab, but Park wasn't playing ball and kept coming forward, even eating a huge right hand for his trouble. He took like a freak and fired back, dropping Rojas just moments later. Rojas bout the count, but Park was now in hyper aggression mode and looked for the finish. Credit needs to go to Rojas for smothering, holding, wrestling and surviving this torrid opening round. It really was a case of surviving from the challenger who looked like he was in with a perpetual punching machine.
Rojas responded early in round 2 but went to the canvas again, in what was ruled a slip. It took the little bit of momentum he had began to build and let the Korean come back at him, again fighting like a man who's main defense was offense.
As the bout went on Park began to tire, not a surprise, and this allowed Rojas more opportunities to counter off the ropes. Park was pinning the challenger to the edges of the ring and Rojas was holding his own at times in the middle rounds. This added a sense of drama. Could Park keep up his incredible intensity. Could Rojas really hit as hard as his record suggest? If so could a tired Park take it?
Whilst this isn't the best bout in their series, it was still a sensational fight, and of course we will be featuring more of this rivalry in future Closet Classics.
This is brutal, thrilling, and features one of the most exciting Korean fighters of all time. And that isn't us exaggerating, Park really is that much fun to watch!
We know we've picked some real hidden gems and forgotten treat of fistic fury in this series and today we talk about another of the more obscure fights. We say obscure, though it was a world title fight from 1992, and by world title fight we do mean a fight for one of "the big 4". So whilst it is obscure it is a significant fight, as well as a fantastic one, featuring a rather forgotten Korean world champion from the early 1990's taking on one of the many tragic figures from boxing's history.
Young Kyun Park (20-1-1, 11) vs Seiji Asakawa (19-2-1, 14)
Korean fighter Young Kyun Park is, sadly, not a name we suspect many will be too familiar with. Evn hardcore fans of the lower weights and the Korean scene may not really remember too much about Park, who was a solid and fun to watch Featherweight. He fought between 1986 and 1995 and won the Korean titles at Super Bantamweight and Featherweight before later winning OPBF and WBA titles, both at Featherweight. He won the WBA belt in 1991, when he beat Antonio Esparragoz, and is probably best known for his 3 fight series with Eloy Rojas, which was a brilliant trilogy of fights. In his third defense of the WBA Featherweight title Park took on Japanese title challenger Seiji Asakawa.
Asakawa is one of the many fighters who've life ended before it's time, though his death had nothing to do with boxing. Asakawa would sadly drown in 2001, at the age of 33, whilst fishing in Tsukuhara Lake. That was notably after his career ended, though still came tragically early. As a fighter Asakawa had, prior to facing Park, held the Japanese Featherweight title, twice, and had scored a noteworthy title defense against Koji Matsumoto. This was his first world title bout, and his first bout out of Japan. On the domestic scene he had proven to be a dangerous puncher, but he had been stopped in both of his losses and stepping up to world class was going to be a test of his durability.
Unlike most bouts this one didn't start slowly and build to something exciting. Instead, this one started hot, with the Inchon Indoor Gymnasium playing host to one amazing opening round. From the first bell the men just met each other and unloaded bombs. The local favourite was getting the better of it, but the challenger roared back giving us a totally breath taking opening round of unadulterated violence. The round may have only been 3 minutes long but it swung one way, then the other, then back and back again. This was an incredible round of action.
It would have been easy for the tempo to drop from the first round, but it didn't. Instead the two continued to wage war in round 2, with Asakawa eventually hitting the deck part way through the round. Park went for finish, but Asakawa saw out the storm, and made it to round 3. With the minute break he seemed to come out fresh as the action continued to be just as incredible, exciting and intense as it had been in the first two rounds.
This was a war right through to the end, and is a truly brutal bout. Fantastic action.
If you want to watch a real hidden gem, this is well worth your time...and unlike most bouts this doesn't actually have commentary, instead it's just the crowd noises. Whilst it's not always great we actually like the lack of commentary, especially given the action here really speaks for it's self.
Enjoy a true Closet Classic!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features