One thing we really want to speak about a lot more in the coming years is Korean fighters, and we really do hope that Korea begins to produce some top talent, like it did in the 1970's and 80's. Whilst the country is lacking stars there is talent coming through the ranks in the country, and in fairness the talent is actually quite wide spread, due to how unique the political boxing situation is in Korea.
For those unaware Korea, unlike most other countries, has several different bodies all essentially ruling the sport. This limits the amount of top domestic bouts with get, with the KBF, KBM, KBC and KBA all splitting the talent, and all doing things their own way. What they all have in common is that they run Rookie tournaments, under some form of banner.
Whilst not all the tournaments are equal in terms of talent, and management, they are all a great breeding ground for talented youngsters. One of the fighters who appears likely to give us a fun ride following his exploits in the KBC Rookie of the Year, is 22 year old Super Bantamweight hopeful Seung Hyun Lee (4-0, 3). He's maybe not a legitimate prospect, as such, but will be a fun guy to watch, and has got very clear potential. It's a question, however, whether someone can mould that potential.
The youngster from Chuncheon made his debut in March 2019 and took a 3rd round TKO win over fellow debutant In Kyoo Gang, dropping Gang in round 2 before closing the show the following round. Sadly we've not managed to stumble on this bout in our research for this article but bout was one of 3 all debutant match ups on a 5 bout card.
Less than 3 months after his debut Lee was back in the ring as he took on Byung Chul Lee in an outdoor ring in Namwon. This was certainly not the most glamorous of conditions, but out door rings are certainly nothing new for the Korean scene. Like his debut bout Lee was up against a debutant, on a show that featured 4 debutants from 10 total fighters in action. Thankfully footage of this bout did turn up during our research and despite his novice status it was easy to like Lee, who boxed behind his jab and showed some nice defense, albeit in flashes. The big talking point for the youngster wasn't defensive work however but his power and the right hand he used to drop his opponent in the opening round was a beauty. Despite seeing things to like about Lee there was also a lot of areas for him to work on. He got caught by the short fighter far too often, conceded his height too much and regularly over committed. They were novice mistakes, but were being made by a novice that clearly had something to get excited about.
Lee's third bout was another we've not managed to see, sadly, but resulted in the youngster getting another quick win, as he took on Won Sub Shin and secured another early stoppage, taking out Shin in round 2.
With a 3-0 (3) record the youngster clearly had some sting on is punches, but as mentioned there was areas to work on. Thankfully we saw some of those areas being smoothed out in his most recent bout, when he beat Joo Ho Shin in a KBC Rookie of the Year bout. The bout saw the youngster stick behind his longer punches much more often than we'd seen of him previously. His guard seemed tighter and his body shots looked a lot smoother. There was still issues with him over balancing, and being countered, but in fairness the improvements were massive. Shin managed to survive 4 rounds with Lee, but Lee was clearly the winner and got the deserved decision.
Although it's too early to get too excited about Lee, especially given the way Korean boxing goes, we genuinely do see a talented youngster here. Albeit one who needs really work and time. He's not the most natural of talents, and he is still very easy to hit, but far as Korean hopes go there are a lot worse fighters there than than Lee, who looks like he could be a lot of fun to follow. If he can make some very obvious improvements then we genuinely wouldn't be surprised to see him mixing at Oriental title level later in the decade.
Of course if Lee fails to get the training and sparring he needs then the early promise will sadly prove to be for nothing. His defensive game needs significant work he certainly needs teaching to tighten up, a lot, when he's letting his own hands go.
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