Korean fight fans don't get a lot of fights. It's a shame in many ways that Korea, a country with a strong history of boxing, has such a lack of fights taking place on it's soil. Despite that the fights they do get are almost always amazing and few countries give us as many fun fights to enjoy than South Korea. One of the best things about the country's boxing scene is that the country gives us all novice bouts, regularly, and they almost always deliver some incredible action.
With that in mind let us take you back to November 2020 for this week's Treasure Trove article, which is a thrilling action bout from Hwaseong in South Korea.
No Jin Lee (0-1) vs Yong Wan Jung (1-1-1)
It's fair to assume, before we talk about the fighters, the that no one outside of Korea will be too aware about No Jin Lee or Yong Wan Jung. Both men were total novices when they fought and neither man has gone on to do much of note since. In fact neither fighter is ever expected to go on to do much with their career's. Despite that, they made for a hell of a hell of a bout together.
Lee was the older man, at 35 years old, and had only made his debut 5 months earlier, losing a majority decision on his debut to fellow debutant Jin Uk Jeon. The reality, at this point in time, was that he wasn't going to have an amazing career, but for many fighters that's not as important as we, as fans, some times think it is. Especially in Asia, where lots of fighters turn professional for the enjoyment of the sport, rather than to become a world champion.
Jung was much, much younger, than Lee and was in fact just 23 coming into this bout, but was already much more experienced than Lee. Jung had made his debut in July 2019, scoring a decision win over Hyo Jae Yoon before losing his second bout, to Jiayilawuhan Zanghaer over in China, and then fighting to a draw against Tae Gwang Park. All 3 of his bouts coming into this had gone the distance, and he really hadn't stood out as being some one worthy of attention following those bouts.
As with many low level Korean bouts it didn't take long for leather to begin flying here. In fact it took only the blink of an eye after the opening bell to see both men letting leather fly. Originally it was Lee coming forward, behind his southpaw stance, but within seconds Jung turned it around began to drill his man with big right hands. Lee's response being tagged was to try and walk through shots in an attempt to land his own. As a result we ended up getting a prolonged back and forth exchange. Through the round it was clear Jung was the much more skilled man, often finding the target with his right hand and even wobbling Lee late in the round. Despite landing almost at will however Jung was taking shots himself as Lee refused to wilt, making for a thrilling 3 minutes of almost non-stop action.
Round 2 started much like round 1. We saw Lee coming forward, and walking into shots, eating them flush, whilst trying to grind down Jung, or force Jung to break his hand on Lee's head. This wasn't high quality boxing, but it was intense, with both throwing, and landing, a lot of leather. Against Lee was taking the worst of it, but ever so often he would land a big left hand, or a right hook, and it seemed, just for a moment, that he could perhaps stop Jung in his tracks. Until Jung again took control with some accurate right hands and uppercuts. By the end of the round Jung was clearly beginning to wear down, the accumulation of shots taking its toll, but like any good Korean fighter he didn't know how to quit and he kept fighting back, right through to the bell.
Given that both men had taken a lot of punishment in the first 2 rounds it was probably a relief to both men entering round 3, knowing this was only scheduled for 4 rounds. Despite that we wouldn't actually see round 4. Instead we saw Lee landing bombs again at the start of round 3, and leaving Jung cut and swollen around the right eye. The facial damage saw Jung being taken to the ringside doctor who said enough was enough. At first glance the damage wasn't too bad, though on a second look it was clear he had taken a lot of shots to the head, he couldn't get out of the way and the shots had taken a visible toll on him.
Although not every Treasure Trove bout is a war, this one is. It's not the highest skill level, or the most impressive technically, but it's exactly what we love about Korean boxing. It was exciting, it was brutal, and it featured the perfect mix of intense offence and dire defense!
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.