Many times a a card for one thing or another, and that single thing overshadows everything else. Sometimes that's fair, and the "thing" is really the only important part of a card, or a show. Other times however other great things get lost as a result, usually something on the under-card. Today's Closet Classic is a great example of that, with the bout being tucked away on a card headlined by In Jin Chi's bout with Rodolfo Lopez, a bout that not only saw Chi become a 2-time world champion but also the final bout of Chi's career. The bout we're going to be talking about isn't a particularly historic one, but is just the type of thing we love having in our Closet Classic section.
Hee Jae Cho (8-1, 4) vs Byung Joo Moon (5-5, 4)
Placed in the main support bout of Chi's contest with Lopez was a Korean Super Featherweight title bout between 30 year old challenger Byung Joo Moon and teenage champion Hee Jae Cho. On paper this looked like a mismatch, and given the attention the main event was given it was easy to ignore this one. That was, until the two men began to fight, and until they managed to put on a bout that really saw both men going through hell in pursuit of the W.
Cho had won the title 7 months prior to this bout, blowing out Dong Hoon Lim in the opening round. For him this bout was set as his first defense and a win would likely have set him on the path to some big bouts. Moon on the other hand was fighting in his first title bout, and he was the clear under-dog. Moon had lost his previous 2, and was almost a year removed from his last win. It was obvious this was supposed to be an easy defense for the fast rising teenager.
The problem for Cho is that no one had told Moon that he was there to lose, and from very early in the bout the challenger pressed the champion, unloading hard right hands and powerful left hooks on to the taller, younger and more technically well schooled champion. Cho tried to fight back, but as the fight went on he was dragged into a war with the stiff nosed and heavy handed champion.
Whilst the bout didn't start like a rocket, it built up a head of steam and by the time we gt into round 7 it was clear we were watching not just a very good bout, but a great fight. A fight that was the pure visual representation of the Korean style, focusing on aggression, heart and out put rather than defense and ring craft. Even when both were clearly exhausted they still dug deep and continued their war.
Amazingly both men would go on to fight for OPBF titles. Cho would win the Korean Lightweight title before facing Kengo Nagashima for the OPBF title, in another excellent fight, whilst Moon would go on to battle Takashi Uchiyama for OPBF Super Featherweight title, losing in 4 rounds to KO Dynamite.
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