Korean fighter Hwan Jin Kim (22-2-2, 8) had a career that spanned from June 1977 to early 1983 and during that time he managed to win the WBA Light Flyweight, fought in 4 world title bouts and scored several other notable wins outside of his bouts at the highest level.
Whilst Kim's career was short it was intense with 26 fights in less than 6 years. Not only was it intense but it was exciting and he was moved quickly. Within 4 months of his debut he was involved in 8 round bouts and within 14 months of his debut he had 2 wins over future world champions. Later on he would he would score wins over a former world champion, one over a future world title challenger and one over a former world title challenger. Not shabby at all for such a short career.
Today Kim becomes the latest fighter to be featured in our Friday series , "the 5 most significant wins for... Hwan Jin Kim".
Seung Hoon Lee (November 6th 1977)
In Kim's 5th professional bout be faced off with fellow Korean Seung Hoon Lee, a fighter that hardcore fans will recognise. At the time Lee was 2-0 and Kim took a 6 round decision over his fellow novice. Whilst this by it's self wasn't a big one or a notable one, it did become more significant over time as Lee went one to become the IBF Super Bantamweight champion in 1987. In fact Lee was widely regarded as one of the best Korean fighters of his generation. The win for Kim helped establish him on the Korean scene and with Lee later winning a world title the win has aged brilliantly.
Shigeo Nakajima (August 19th 1978)
Around 9 months after Kim beat Lee he would beat another future world champion as he travelled to Japan and defeated Shigeo Nakajima, who would later win the WBC Light Flyweight world title. The bout wasn't just another win over a future world champion, which would have been impressive by it's self, but also saw Kim making a successful international debut and going 10 rounds for the first time in his career. Winning in enemy territory is never ever easy but to do it in a career longest bout against a future world champion is very much a significant win. The victory saw Kim move his record to 7-0-1 and was actually followed, 3 months later by a win over future world title challenger Tito Abella, who later came up short against Yoko Gushiken.
Pedro Flores (July 19th 1981)
Having just mentioned Yoko Gushiken it's worth noting that the man who beat Gushiken and ended his long reign was himself a Kim victim. Mexico's Pedro Flores dethroned Gushiken in March 1981, after the Japanese great had made 13 defenses, and in his first defense travelled to Daegu to take on Kim. This wouldn't go well for Flores, who was competitive through 12 rounds but stopped in round 13 as Kim took the WBA Light Flyweight title. This was, of course, the win that needed Kim the WBA title, and his first world title bout. This put Kim's name on the map in a big way and was the single biggest win of his career. Although Flores was only a short term champion a win over the man that stopped Gushiken was huge for Kim.
Alfonso Lopez (October 11th 1981)
Sadly Kim's reign with the WBA title wasn't much longer than that of Flores, he did however make a successful defense. Less than 3 months after winning the title Kim took on Panama's Alfonso Lopez, himself a former WBA Flyweight champion from the mid 1970's. Although a bit of a faded force by 1981 Lopez was still a legitimate contender and had gone on an unbeaten 5 fight run since decision losses to Charlie Magri and Gustavo Ballas in their home countries. He appeared to have rebuilt some momentum and that showed as he pushed Kim all the way in a very close bout. In the end Kim would take a narrow decision over Lopez to record his only successful world title defense. Sadly he would lose the belt 2 months later to Japan's Katsuo Tokashiki,
Yong Hyun Kim (July 24th 1982)
The final win of note for Kim came in 1982 when he returned to action after his title loss. In the opposite to the former world champion was fellow Korean Yong Hyun Kim. Although Yong Hyun Kim never managed to win a world title he banged on the door, and challenged Yoko Gushiken in 1980. Whilst he came up short against Gushiken Yong Hyun Kim had won the South Korean and OPBF titles at Light Flyweight and was certainly no push over. Hwan Jin Kim managed to take a technical decision over his countryman to help him prove their was still something in the tank. Less than 6 months after this win Hwan Jin Kim got a rematch with Katsuo Tokashiki, but couldn't over-come the man who had ended his world reign.
After losing to Tokashiki for the second time Hwan Jun Kim retired from the sport.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces