South Korean boxing is a long, long way, from what it once was. Despite that the sport has been able to provide some amazing bouts in the last few years, in a variety of settings. They haven't always been the tidiest, or prettiest of bouts, but they have had their own charm. Today we share one such bout, from our Treasure Trove, and this is really one of the most bizarre, thrilling, action packed, messy wars you're likely to see this week.
Seung Hee Lee (3-6, 1) vs Jin Soo Kim (6-6-1, 3)
In October 2019 the WJ Boxing Club played host to a small card, featuring a number of lesser talented fighters. Despite the limitations of the men involved many of the men on the show felt this was a chance to make a mark and pick up a victory. Two such men were Seung Hee Lee and Jin Soo Kim.
Entering the bout the 26 year old Lee was 3-6, he had won just 1 of his previous 5 and had done very, very little of note. He had been testing the water at Middleweight in bouts prior to this one but a lack of success there saw him move down the scales and take this fight, just above the Light Middleweight limit.
Kim on the other hand was a 30 southpaw and, on paper, had the better record. Despite having the better record his recent form was even worse than that of Lee and he was 0-4-1 in his previous 5. He had scored a win since April 2013 and was naturally the smaller man, having regularly fought at Light Welterweight.
The bout didn't start too well. In all honesty it was a mess to begin with, as Lee struggled with the southpaw stance of Kim, and Kim struggled to get anything going himself. To his credit Lee was pressing forward, taking the center of the ring, and forcing the fight, but Kim was tying him up and thwarting his aggression. By the end of the round however Lee's pressure and relentlessness was forcing Kim to fight back out of the corner and by the end of the round we were getting a fight. It wasn't pretty, but it was exciting, rough and had huge shots thrown by both.
After the rather frustrating start to the opening round we saw the pace pick up in round 2. There was still some messy clinches, and moments that were frustrating, as the men got too close, but for the most part this was a war, with Lee fighting like a man possessed and Kim trying to do all he could to him away.
Round by round we saw the two men hammering each other. Bombs flying both ways. Defense playing a clear second fiddle to offense. As Kim realised he couldn't just hold and spoil he let his hands go more, catching Lee coming in with clean counters, but Lee walked through them, desperate to get Kim back against the rounds, ropes, using anything and everything at his disposal to make this fight.
In the end the willingness to use anything and everything up close saw us going to an early conclusion, heading to the scorecards in round 5, but prior to the ending this was chaotic violence. This was entertaining, rough, tough and brilliantly violent. It was an ugly, grimey fight, but it was thrilling, adrenaline filled and so much fun!
For fans who want boxing to be clean, technical, smooth, angles and high IQ, we have something great for next week in this series. For those who just want to see two blokes unloading wide punches on each other in dingy little gym, this is for you. This type of fight in the UK would be described as a small hall classic. In Korea it was simply a gym fight. To us, it's a rough, crude, ugly, treat and a genuine treasure.
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.