One thing was don't see enough of is great all-Korean bouts. It seems we could be seeing a change that in the near future, and we have had one or two in the last few years, but they are still rather rare. Thankfully this weekend we get actually get two, one of which is my pick for this week's "One to Watch".
The One to Watch?
Jong Seon Kang (10-0-2, 6) vs Seong Yeong Yang (8-2-5, 4)
August 8th (Saturday)
We love action bouts and given the fighters involved in this one we are expecting nothing short of a thrill a minute, full on war with incredible action, intense exchanges, limited defense and amazing wills to win. This isn't likely to be a bout for a purist, but for those who want a rock em sock robots style fight this should be ideal. The men both like to let their hands, both men are flawed, and both know how to put on a show!
Aged just 18 Jong Seon Kang is one of the countries brightest hopes, and is already a multi-year professional, having debuted back in November 2017. Although not a big name Kang really impressed us last year when he fought 5 times, going 3-0-2 (2). Whilst his bouts weren't at the highest level he certainly wasn't just beating limited opponents, in fact he managed to upset Ravshanbek Shermatov, travelled to China and beat Qixiu Zhang, and then defeated Tomjune Mangubat in an absolute thriller in Vietnam. He's tough, gutsy, throws a lot of leather and in his win over Mangubat was a genuinely sensational bout that showed he determination and saw him climb off the to earn the win.
It's fair to say that the 24 year old Seong Yeong Yang has a weird looking record, with 5 draws from 15 bouts however don't let that fool you into thinking he's not a good fighter. In fact he's become a very good fighter after a really weird 2-4-2 start this his professional career, and he's now unbeaten in 11 bouts. As with Kang his competition hasn't been amazing, but he's shown an incredible work, amazing engine, guts and drive. His most notable result is his 2019 draw in China against Jian Wang. That bout, like Kang's against Mangubat, was just an exceptional, all out, free swinging, intense war. Defense wasn't something either man wanted to show us, and we weren't complaining!
What to expect?
Given that both fighters are limited, action fighters who have high work rates, limited defense, throw in high volume without massive amounts of power we're going to tell you all to expect something special. Really special. From the opening round we expect to see a lot of leather thrown.
Of the two Kang is probably the more technical, but he's certainly not a technical fighter in a traditional sense. Kang is probably the higher volume guy, but not by a significant amount. We would expect Kang to be more willing to move, look for angles and space, but be willingly dragged into a tear up. That will give us some exciting exchanges early on, but as the fight goes on, and the foot work slows, we expect to see more toe-to-toe exchanges in what will, potentially, be a FOTY contender.
It might seem hyperbolic but this bout has the potential to be something truly amazing. We know it's going to be relatively low level, but that doesn't matter too much here, it's going to be entertaining and that's why it's this weeks one to watch!
The bad news?
At the time of writing it's unclear if the bout will be aired live, however it's a Cocky Buffalo show under the auspices of the KBA so at the very least we know it's going to be made available online after the bout. We might need to wait to watch it, but the wait will be worth it!
Some fighters in the sport just deliver great fights. It doesn't matter who they are facing off with they deliver the action, they force opponents to fight their fight and they give us thrillers time and time again. At the highest level we don't see them last long at the top, the wars take their toll, but at the lower levels they can have some really fun careers to follow. Today's Treasure Trove sees us fall back on an old friend for his second entry in this series, and like his first one, it was a thrilling, crude, wild, action packed fight against a Chinese opponent.
Seong Yeong Yang (7-2-5, 3) vs Fan Cai (5-3-1, 2)
The man we were talking about in the opening to this article was Korean warrior Seong Yeong Yang, Korean domestic answer in many ways to Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado. His first entry in the series January's bout with Jian Wang, where he fought to a draw in Suzhou over 10 rounds, and that was an excellent war. This time he was on a much less notable card in Korea as he took on Fan Cai for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
Yang aged 23 at the time of this bout, is dubbed "Alpha Go" in Korea and our good friend David Seo explained to us that he's known as a fighter who will take throw try to simply out throw and out land his opponents. Despite being technically open, crude and static, he is very much a 100mph fighter who throws a lot of leather, to both head and body and looks to simply out work and out fight opponents. It would be crazy to suggest he's a good boxer, but he's a very, very entertaining fighter and someone every fan should watch, at least once this year.
Fan Cai on the other hand was a relatively unknown Chinese fighter. Aged 23 he wasn't tipped for any sort of major success, and his 9 bouts coming in were all against limited opposition, in either China or Thailand. There was nothing of note on his record, though he had gone 5-1 in his previous 6 to build some momentum. Coming in he and had never been stopped, despite going win-less in his first, 3 bouts, but had shown little to get excited about.
Right from the off Yang's all out aggression and sloppy defence saw him marking forward like a human version of the terminator. He was wild, he was open, he was eating clean counters, but he was refusing to back off or respect Fan. Yang's wild style made for excitement but the number of counters he was being forced to take left the bout in a rather fine balance and his face was showing signs of the punishment he was taking.
Although all the pressure was coming from Yang he's ultra open style and the sheer number of clean shots he was eating, especially the straight right hand down the pipe, was making this interesting and leaving us to question whether Yang would punch himself out or whether one of Cai's counters would have the desired effect of breaking through the Korean's chin and take him down.
This was level, all action fun, and the sort of bout that showed there is still the old school Korean mentality in boxing, even if the fighters with that mentality aren't anything like the fighters of yester year.
This is a very fun Treasure Trove, just don't expect much in terms of pure boxing skills and instead enjoy this for what it is, a low level, all action brawl.
The year has been a long one, and today's Treasure Trove comes from way back at the start of the year, it's a long way buried deep in the trove, but is something that was really fun, rather wild and a little bit crazy. The bout was actually buried on a card and fought after the show's main event, and whilst that's not usually a good sign this was a bout that should have kept fans in their seats. It was the sort of crazy, fun, intense brawling fight that we love watching, even if the fighter's health isn't going to be helped by the battle they are engaging in.
Jian Wang (7-1, 2) vs Seong Yeong Yang (6-2-4, 3)
China's Jian Wang entered as a 22 year old hopeful who was looking for his 6th straight win. The local hopeful had shown promise, but was very much a fighter who was hoping to deliver more than he had already. His lack of power was an issue, and both of his stoppages had come against the same limited Thai opponent, but he had shown enough for those in China to get just a little bit excited about thanks to his work rate and fan friendly style. It was hoped that as he matured he would learn to sit on his shots more and develop his physical strength and power
Yang, also 22 years old, was a Korean youngster fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. He was 2-2-4 after his first 8 bouts, but had managed to reel off 4 wins coming into this and had shown a willingness to have a war. On paper the bout wasn't just his first bout on the road but also a massive step up in class, and a bout where he had to be regarded as the under-dog. He had some momentum, sure, but he had little else, other than his will to win and desire to become the new WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight champion.
What we ended up with was a wild bout that saw both men often neglecting defensive responsibilities and just letting leather fly at the Suzhou Olympic Sport Center. The visitor knew he was up against it and was often the one pressing the fight letting shots fly and was happy to eat a big counter to land shots of his own. Wang was the more defensively sound, and the cleaner puncher, but he was also the one with the less impressive energy tank and was the one fighting on the back foot.
What we got was a pretty fight, but was an action packed one with a lot of intensity, some very fan friendly exchanges and some of the widest and wildest hooks you'll ever see, with Wang throwing some shots so wide that they could have landed on fans in row 3...and even then he some how managed to land them on Yang.
This isn't one for purists, but it is one for those who just love a good old fashioned tear up.
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.