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!
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