Last week we began a new series, in the wake of the current global issue that has essentially put boxing on a pause, along with everything else. We continue that series this week by looking at the most significant professional wins in the career of Ki Soo Kim (33-2-2, 17), who retired in 1969 having etched his name in the history books.
For this we are again not looking at the biggest, or the best wins, but the ones which have the most significant for Kim and his career. As with the previous article in this series we'll list them chronologically, with the earliest of the five first, and try to shine a light on the most meaningful wins that the Korean legend scored.
1-Sae Chul Kang (October 1961)
The start of Kim's career is shrouded in some debate. BoxingM and other Korean sources suggest that Kim debuted in August 1961 with his second bout taking place in October, whilst Boxrec state his debut was in October. Whatever actually happened is unclear, as is the specific date, but what is clear is that in October 1961 Kim beat Sae Chul Kang to become the Korean Middleweight champion. What made this even more impressive is that Kang was the OPBF Light Middleweight champion, making the win a huge one for Kim at this very early stage of his career.
2-Fumio Kaizu (January 10th 1965)
Ki Soo Kim twice scored wins over Fumio Kaizu in 1965. The first of those was the more impressive of the two, as he travelled to Japan to stop Kaizu to become the OPBF Middleweight champion, claiming the title for the first time. The win saw Kim become the first Korea to win the title and with 5 defenses of the belt he also set a new bar for champions during his reign, that lasted for more than 2 years. It wouldn't be until Jae Doo Yuh that Kim's record for defenses would be beaten.
3-Nino Benvenuti (June 25th 1966)
The significance of a win doesn't really relate to how controversial it was, and Ki Soo Kim's win over Nino Benvenuti is certainly a controversial one, that many who have, and haven't, seen it will have their view on. With that said however the official result is that Kim got the win over the man who had beaten him in the 1960 Olympics, and with the win Kim became the first ever Korean world champion. The win was, by far, the most significant of Kim's career and one of the biggest in Korean boxing history.
4-Freddie Little (October 3rd 1967)
Another of Kim's wins that will forever have question marks over it, though again those question marks don't take away from the significance of it, was his 1967 win over Freddie Little. The bout, widely regarded as a full on robbery came against an American who would see controversy strike again a year later, when he was robbed of a win over Sandro Mazzinghi. Little, one of the best 154lb fighters of the late 1960's and early 1970's, would later go on to become a world champion and after retirement served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The win over Little really was controversial, but with the decision going his way the win was still a massive one for Kim. A massive one, with a huge asterisk over it.
5-Hisao Minami (March 1st 1969)
Picking a 5th fight was quite tricky here, though we've gone with Kim's final professional bout, which came in early 1969 against Hisao Minami. Minami had given Kim his second professional loss, taking a razor thin decision over the Korean in November 1968 to take the OPBF title. Less than 4 months later Kim avenged the loss, reclaiming the OPBF title and closed out his career as an Oriental champion. This win had come after back to back losses for the then 29 year old Korean who seemed to know it was time to walk away from the sport and do other things.
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