Not many modern day fans out there will be too familiar with Korean Super Flyweight Chul Ho Kim (19-3-2, 9) but during his short career he was a very notable figure with some huge wins. His career ran from 1978, when he was just 17, to 1983 but in just over 5 years he had 24 bouts including 7 at world level. Sadly his career didn't end well, with Kim failing to win any of his final 3 bouts, but that was due to being burnt out by his team, who really should have treat their young prodigy much better. In fact the way they matched him at times was nothing short of reckless and endangered him in ways that young fighters shouldn't be risked.
Of course we're not here today to talk about mismanagement of a fighter but instead we're here to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Chul Ho Kim.
Rafael Orono I (January 24th 1981)
Aged 19 when he travelled to San Cristobal in Venezuela Chul Ho Kim wasn't expected to be much of a challenger for the then WBC Super Flyweight champion Rafael Orono, who was sporting a 13-0-1 (5) record. Kim was seen as being such an under-dog that the Korean media didn't pay the bout much attention. What ended up happening however that the Korean teenager shocked everyone with a huge upset win. Through the first 8 rounds of the bout the skills and movement of Orono were too good for the gutsy Korean teenager. In round 9 however a combination of body shots from Kim hurt Orono who took a knee and was counted out in agony. This win for Chul instantly turned him into a Korean boxing star and world champion.
Jiro Watanabe (April 22nd 1981)
Less than 3 months after winning the WBC Super Flyweight title Kim made his first defense, taking on the then 10-0 Jiro Watanabe. The bout was an interesting and well fought contest, despite having it's share of controversy, and was a high speed chess match with the Japanese southpaw showing what he could do against the young Korean champion. After 15 rounds Kim would take a controversial and questionable decision to retain his title. Whilst some wins are huge when they happen this is a win that aged amazingly well with Watanabe later winning the WBA and WBC titles at the weight. With Kim being the first man to defeat him the win is a real statement of what Kim could do, even if the scorecards could, and should, be question. Whilst not the best bout ever this is well worthy of a watch, not just to get a look at Kim but to also see a young Watanabe showing off what he could do.
Willie Jensen (July 29th 1981)
In his second defense of the WBC Super Flyweight title Kim took on American challenger Willie Jensen, who had previously fought to a draw with Rafael Orono. The bout was a rather interesting one at times, but became very messy with Jensen tiring down the stretch and holding a lot in round 11. As the challenger ran out of steam the champion kept coming and in round 13 an exhausted Jensen was put down from a series of body shots as the tried to smother the champion. The challenger was unable to beat the count as Kim extended his reign. The crowd for this bout, at the Kudok Gym, seemed huge and it was clear that fans were well and truly on the Kim express by now. Sadly however this was Kim's third bout in just over 6 months, and was another long and damaging one for the Korean, who should have been given a break afterwards.
Jackal Maruyama (November 18th 1981)
In Kim's third defense of the WBC Super Flyweight title he faced off with Japanese national champion Jackal Maruyama. The bout was a rough one with Maruyama being stopped in round 9 as a cut forced the referee to step in. This would be Maruyama's only world title bout and would hasten his decline as a fighter, with the Japanese fighter winning just 1 of his next 4. To his credit Maruyama did bounce back, and went on to win 4 of his last 6, but Kim ended his hopes of being a world champion. As for Kim the bout was his third defenses within 10 months of winning the title. Whilst he had won the bout had taken a toll on him and he had 58 rounds in the space of 10 months, hastening his decline.
Koki Ishii (February 10th 1982)
Less than 3 month after going to war with Maruyama we saw Kim return for this his defense, as the Korean took on the then 9-0 Koki Ishii. By this point Kim had been a world champion for a little over a year and was already looking to make his fourth defense, his second against an unbeaten challenger. Although Ishii hadn't won anything domestically in the professional ranks he had been fast tracked following a successful amateur career, which had included winning a medal at the 1978 World boxing championship's. That fast track had seen him beating the Japanese and OPBF Flyweight champions in non-title bouts.
Despite Ishii's impressive amateur credentials and fast rise through the ranks he was stopped in 8 rounds by Kim who made his 4th successful defense. Sadly for Kim the fight was the start of the end for him and would turn out to be his final win. He retained the title the following July with a draw against Raul Valdez before losing the belt in November 1982 to Rafael Orono, and then lost his final bout, in 1983, to Prayurasak Muangsurin.
After his in ring career Kim remained in the sport and played a major role in the rise, and success, of the hugely popular and exciting Sung Kil Moon.
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