Korean boxing is really struggling for traction, and has been for a while. Despite that the country does have some notable fighters and some with really interesting stories. No story matches that of the “Defector Girl Boxer” Hyun Mi Choi (11-0-1, 4) [최현미], the star of the KBA and the current WBA female Super Featherweight champion. In fact Choi's story is one of the best is boxing as a whole and is one of triumphant against adversity as well as the battle for freedom away from an evil dictator. It's a story that perhaps resonates with Cuban fighters but Choi takes it to a new level as she was just a teenager when she, and her family, defected from Pyongyang.
Choi's remarkable story features not only her defection but also her success as a fighter, which includes the amazing achievement of winning a world title on her debut. She's currently a 2-weight world champion, with a 10-0-1 (3) record in world title fights, and will be looking to extend her current reign on March 27th when she faces Colombian puncher Diana Ayala (19-11-4, 13).
The 25 year old Korean is a really talented boxer with a good work rate who likes to keep the fight at range. She's tall, 5'7”, and long for the weight and uses those to her advantage, whilst using using impressive speed. She's technically very solid and although not a big puncher her shots do take a toll on her opponents, who often end up bruised and looking like they have been in a fight.
Whilst Choi does lack massive wins she does have a number of good wins. They include decisions over Tenku Tsubasa, Claudia Andrea Lopez, Shannon O'Connell, Fujin Raika and Chika Mizutani as well as a stoppage over Sandy Tsagouris. Given her lack of experience those wins are very impressive and show the quality of the Korean, who doesn't seem to shirk challenges.
Whilst the champion is unbeaten the challenger has racked up losses, though has been a fighter who has fought on the road before and has acquitted herself well, despite being relatively crude. Like many Colombian's she has a reputation for being a puncher and like many she has racked up wins at home whilst failing to win bouts outside of her homeland. In fact Ayala is 0-10 outside of her homeland.
Although win-less outside of Colombia Ayala has fought the likes of Ogleidis Suarez, Monica Silvina Acosta, Fernanda Soledad Alegre, Jackie Nava, Alejandra Marina Oliveros, Claudia Andrea Lopez and Maria Elena Maderna on her travels. Whilst she has been competitive in some of those bouts it needs to be noted that her 19-1-4 record in Colombia is relatively padded with her last 6 wins, dating back more than 3 years, coming against win-less opposition, and she is now more than 5 years removed from her most notable result, a draw with Liliana Palmera.
Give the crudeness of Ayala there is the probability that she could give Choi some problems, though we suspect that Choi's skills will see her over-come the Colombian en route to a straight forward, and clear, decision. Ayala may have success early but when Choi begins to read her challenger the bout will become very one sided in favour of the champion.
On paper Japan's Mari Ando (12-8, 5) has the record of a journey woman but the reality is that she's a bona-fide world level contender who has a “win some-lose some” record at the top level. In fact coming into this weekend she is 3-4 in world title bouts, a 2-weight world champion and a fighter who has been really unlucky to actually have a 12-8 record.
This weekend Ando attempts to become a 3-weight champion as she travels to Mexico to battle Ibeth Zamora Silva (24-5, 9), the current WBC female Light Flyweight champion and one of the best female fighters on the planet.
Ando is a true warrior. She has limitations but the 28 year old is a real battler who has regularly made up for her limitations with a high work rate, insane toughness and incredible will to win. That will to win has her over-come the likes of Amara Kokietgym, Maria del Refugio Jimenez Cruz and Jasseth Noriega whilst managing push fighters like Ayaka Miyao, Yuko Kuroki, Su Yun Hong and Cai Zong Ju all the way.
A big question when it comes to Ando is how she will cope at Light Flyweight. Interestingly she is 2-0 (1) above 105lbs, though this match up is a huge step up in class from her other two at the weight.
When it comes to Zamora the 27 year old really is one of the sports best female fighters. Her record is incredible, not just the numbers but also the quality of her wins which have come against the likes of Esmeralda Moreno, twice, Jessica Chavez, twice, Anabel Ortiz, Naoko Shibata and Ava Knight. Not only has she been beating top names but she's also been a 3 year reign as a world champion and has already recorded 7 defenses of her title.
In the ring Zamora can almost everything, in fact the one thing she's missing is “power” though she more than makes up for that with her ability to box, or brawl. When it comes to being adaptable she certainly has plan A, B, C and D in her locker and with a large crowd behind her and her confidence sky high it's going to take a very special fighter to beat her.
Whilst we rate Ando as being much better than her record, we can't see over-coming Zamora, especially not in Mexico
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.