Over the coming week or so all the big bouts in Japan, the ones that are worth talking about at least, are getting the full preview treatment, so with that in mind we have to look around for a bout worthy of being our "One to Watch", which of course looks at boxing beyond title level. Look at this weeks action there was a few bouts of interest, the only allows to talk about one of the fighters we mentioned as an honourable mention in 20 for 20 break down. Not only that, but it's a bout in Korea and we all know what that means! It means we're in for some serious fun!
The One to Watch?
Da Won Gang (3-0, 1) Vs Jin Su Kim (3-3, 1)
December 28th (Saturday)
Korean fighters aren't what they used to be. The days of Jung Koo Chang mowing through the Light Flyweight division with his staggering aggression, or In Chul Baek clubbing people into submission with his brutish power, are well and truly gone. Despite that Korean boxing is finally moving in the right direction and going forward thanks to BoxingM, or KBM, who have managed to unearth some exciting. Here we see one of those talented youngsters in action in what is a KBM title eliminator.
Those who read our 20 for 20 list, including the honourable mentions, may recall Da Won Gang getting a mention. We suggested the 19 year old had energy, aggression and brought excitement, and with that in mind every Gang bout is worthy of attention. Earlier in 2019 he won the Battle Royale, the KBM answer to Rookie of the Year, and now he's moving towards title action. The youngster is regarded as one of the top prospects in South Korea and although that perhaps that is damning with faint praise, he does look like a youngster that likes to fight. Sadly his Rookie of the Year final wasn't a great chance to do that, coming against the frustrating Yoon Ki Kim, but this is a great chance for him to show what he can do.
Jin Su Kim is a 23 year old southpaw who is perhaps best known for either a brutal KO on debut against Andrew Silva, in which Andrew was sent face planting one of the tiniest rings we've ever seen. Although no world beater Kim has challenged for a Korean title before, losing a competitive 10 round decision to Min Ho Jung in their second bout. As well as the two losses to Jung he has also lost, understandably, to Japanese prospect Kaiki Yuba. Whilst his record isn't great he has faced better competition than Gang, and will go into this bout with the desire of getting back to winning ways, and securing his second title fight.
What to expect?
This is Korea, and Korean boxing isn't exactly known for it's technical show cases of patience. Sure the top Koreans were capable technical skills that many top fighters wish they could have, but more often than not Korean fighters are known for their incredible will to win, their hunger, desire, toughness and energy. Technically Kim looks a decent boxer, he's light on his feet a very long frame and he tries to fight to his strengths, though often gets dragged into the wrong type of fight. With a good team behind him, he could have been built slowly, and been built into a decent enough domestic prospect.
Gang on the other hand is real prospect, he's aggressive, he cuts the distance and he enjoys fighting on the inside. Physically he's still on the "boy" side of things, and hasn't yet matured into a man. He lacks real power on his shots, but makes up for it in terms of volume, accuracy and physical strength. Despite being a kid he bullies people, he drags them into his fight. Up close and personal is where he looks at home, and where he will be looking to get against Kim.
We'd expect Gang to get inside, go to work and drag Kim into a war. This is unlikely to see a 1-punch KO from either guy, but will be an action bout up close and personal. Kim look to fight fire with fire, but be broken up and broken as a result. Expect this to be a fun coming out party for Ganf, ahead of a title fight next year.
The bad news?
It's currently unclear how the bout will be distributed live, though thankfully it will be made available after the bout on the KBM Youtube channel in the days following the event.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.