In the 1970's and 1980's Korean boxing was thriving with numerous notable fighters making their mark on the sports. When the IBF were set up Korea was one of the countries that quickly took to the fledging organisation. A number of the early IBF champions came from Korea and it seemed like a golden era for Korean fighters.
Soon Chun Kwon was one of those early IBF champions, that really isn't too well known in the west, but was popular and notable in Korea where he built his career, became a world champion and enjoyed a notable career in that spanned from 1977 to 1987. During his career he ran up a 27-5-3 (18) record.
Of course Kwon's not well known, so with that in mind we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Soon Chun Kwon.
1-Kwon was born in September 1955, and was the youngest of 3 brothers.
2-Kwon began boxing in 1972, with a story being that he accidentally ended up there and learned how to box out of curiosity. Although he wanted to achieve in the sport he really didn't have much success if note as an amateur, winning no notable awards or trophies.
3-Outside of boxing Kwon was involved in the Printing business in the 1970's, with some reports stating he was a printing engineer.
4-Interestingly Kwon's career was very stop-start. He debuted in in October 1977 but was then out of the ring for 22 months, before returning to the ring and losing to Chung Kwon Choi in August 1979. He was then away from the ring for 15 months before returning against. This meant his first 2 wins were separated by more than 3 years. This is even weirder when we consider that Kwon scored 4 wins in 12 days in 1980!
5-In December 1980 Kwon was crowned the Korean Rookie of the year, at Flyweight, thanks to his win over Yang Lim Lee.
6-Kwon was the Inaugural Champion IBF Flyweight champion, winning the bout on December 24th 1983.
7-In 1984, when Kwon beat Joaquin Flores Caraballo, he was actually supposed to face the very good Alberto Castro, a big punching Colombian. The switch of opponent badly damaged the standing of the IBF in South Korea and lead to real anger at those in charge of Korean boxing, who seemingly knew about the switch and still allowed the contest to go ahead. Sadly though Kwon's future opponents, including Shinobu Kawashima did little to build the IBF's standing in the country
8-In 1985 Kwon fought a trilogy of world title fights with fellow Korean Jong-Kwan Chung. In the first two Kwon narrowly kept a hold of the IBF Flyweight title, with split decision draws. The third bout however saw Kwon being stopped by Chung, in the 4th round, ending Kwon's reign at Flyweight. This was the only T/KO loss on Kwon's record, with the Korean losing a technical decision to Jiro Watanabe and a split decision to Tae Il Chang in his other losses at world level.
9-As of a 2011 report Kwon had 2 children. At the time one was in high school and one had graduated from college. Fair to assume, in the time since then, both have now complete school.
10-After retiring he set up his own boxing gym, as many Korean world champions did after hanging up their gloves. One of the fighters under his guidance was Seung Suk Chae, who challenged for the OPBF Bantamweight title in 2010.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).