At this present moment in time there aren't many Korean fighters that really can have an impact on the international boxing stage. One of the few that has proven that he can is exciting Light Welterweight Min Wook Kim who has shown his class and ability against several Japanese fighters.
The most notable of the fighters that Kim has proven himself against is Shinya Iwabuchi and that was done back in April 2013 when Kim, the then OPBF Light Welterweight champion, travelled to Japan and was involved in a thrilling encounter with Iwabuchi.
The fight, shown in full below, shows not just what Kim is capable of but also Iwabuchi as the two traded shots through out a compelling contest that shows how much the OPBF title means to both men. It may not be the most violent, or the most exciting but it's still brilliant and full of action from the first round to the final bell when the men are still throwing bombs at each other.
Following this fight Kim would defend the belt just once more before it was taken off him. At the time of writing we're looking forward to seeing Iwabuchi fight against current champion Keita Obara for the title and we're expecting a contest just brilliant as this one was.
(Video courtesy of thekyungyangtv)
Right now it goes without saying that the best young boxers at the Ohashi gym are the Inoue brothers. The older of the two brothers, Naoya Inoue, has already won a world title whilst the younger of the brothers, Takuma Inoue, seems likely to do the same over the coming years. A third youngster to keep a serious eye on is Ryo Matsumoto.
Although footage of Matsumoto isn't the easiest to find we have managed to find, in it's entirety, his 5th professional contest, a battle with Thailand's Jomrachan Tor Langoo. The bout, fought back on January 5th 2013, shows a talented Matsumoto dominating his Thai foe to take a quick victory in pretty impressive fashion that is punctuated by a nasty left hand to the body.
Although Jomrachan wasn't a great opponent we de believe, as with many Thai's that he was more experienced than boxrec suggests, in fact from the graphic shown on screen prior to the fight it appears he had had at least 9 fights going in to this one.
Since the contest the Thai has apparently been inactive whilst Matsumoto has shot up the Japanese rankings and appears to be on the verge of a title fight.
As regular visitors will know we do have a bit of an affinity for the massively over-looked Korean fight scene which has given us some of the best, bloodiest, wild and brilliant fights from the last few years. The same Korean scene has also given us one of our favourite active prospects, Ja Ik Goo. This video is of Goo's 3rd professional bout which saw him step up massively to fight Korean Light Welterweight champion Taek Min Kim. Kim had the clear edge in experience though had had years of punishment in his career, including his war with Sonny Manakane.
We won't ruin the bout with spoilers before you get the chance to watch the fight but we will apologise for the fact round 1 is missing from the footage, unfortunately we were never sent the opening round but you do get the rest of the action from the contest.
We would advise that after you watch this you give the other fights involving the men a watch. The video between Kim and Sonny Manakane is linked to above whilst Goo's debut, against Jung Hoon Go can be seen here and Goo's second bout, a stunning victory over Kazuki Hayashi can be seen here.
We often get excited by someone being matched hard on debut and on February 14th 2011 we saw a man that we became very excited about. That was Yohei Tobe who made his debut against Jin Ki Jung, the then South Korean Super Flyweight champion. On paper it was an ambitious debut though it was one that showed the belief that Tobe and his team had in the young fighter.
The belief Tobe's team had in him was well founded and he easily despatched of Jung scoring an opening round stoppage that set off his rise to a Japanese national title around 3 years. Despite the victory however there were flaws with Tobe that would later be his downfall, notably his defence which appeared to be lacking and the way he repeatedly loaded up on his right hand. Thankfully those issues for Tobe have been ironed out in recent fights and he has began to develop some real understanding of what to do with his skills.
Sadly this appears to have been Jung's final bout and from what we understand he retired despite being just 21 years old. Sadly however he was involved in one of the darkest moments in Korean boxing, the death of Ki-Suk Bae who died 3 days after fighting Jung.
(Video courtesy of YeahJustLikeChuckie)
Regular visitors to our site will know that we like seeing our prospects tested early. We've gone by the idea that if you're good enough then you might as well show it. One man who did just that was Yohei Tobe who had both real self confidence and the strong backing of his team at the Misako Gym who were happy to test him straight away.
In his first fight Tobe faced South Korean champion Jin Ki Jung and then, on June 13th 2011, he jumped in with former world champion Wandee Singwancha, a Thai with 80 fights of professional experience. Singwancha may not have been a natural Super Flyweight, like Tobe, or been in the prime of his career but it was still a potentially tough match up for a 1 fight novice.
Despite the bout being tough on paper Tobe managed to really impress as he not only beat Singwancha but actually stopped him in 2 rounds as he used his speed, size and power to over-come the experience of the Thai.
Whilst things, after this fight, haven't gone perfectly for Tobe he did manage to go on and claim the Japanese Super Flyweight title in just his 10th bout. As for Singwancha his career was ended less than 2 years later when he was stopped by Hong Kong's popular Rex Tso.
(Video courtesy of ibatetsu1)
If there is one thing that really excites us it's the prospects that look like they are something special. One such prospect is Lightweight Kenta Onjo from Japan whose debut came back on July 29th 2013 when he took on Thailand's Tanut Sitmanopchai.
The fight didn't last long but showed us all why Onjo is so highly touted by those in the know in Japan. From the opening seconds he looked confident, strong and powerful. Within 20 seconds he handed landed a beautiful uppercut that made us sit up and take note and from then on it was an almost flawless performance that finished with a perfect right hand.
This video contains not only the fight but also a bit of a build up video around Onjo who appears to have done what was expected of him.
Interestingly boxrec state that Tanut was making his debut here, according to the TV this was actually his 12th contest. Again boxrec.com is suspect when it comes to the records of Thai's, though on the flipside we can't be certain that his record shown on screen was right either. The only thing we know from the fight is that Onjo looked very good and very powerful.
(Video courtesy of JUMP Net-tv)
One thing we love doing is watching a prospect develop from their debut to when they become a contender. One of the men that we find incredibly interesting right now Sho Nakawa who is being groomed as one of the future superstars of Japanese boxing.
In his third fight Nakazawa faced Thailand's Charit Aomtanom and although it wasn't a great fight Nakazawa picked up his third successive win, albeit against an opponent who was simply unable to take a punch.
One thing of genuine note here is that boxrec.com have Charit down as a debutant whilst the figure given on Japanese TV was 14 fights, with 8 wins, 5 losses and a draw, with 2 wins coming by KO. Whilst we do often trust boxrec this is a great example of how boxrec.com fails to keep complete records of Thai guys, a task we admit is impossible and thankless. Although the record of Charit isn't as bad as boxrec suggests his performance is very unimpressive here.
Right now we tend to feel that Japanese boxing isn't just in a boom period but is on the verge of a genuine golden era. The key to this potential golden era is the sheer number of talented "super prospects", fighters who are so highly developed when they turn professional that they are groomed from their debut to not just win titles but to win them quickly.
One of those "super prospects" is Super Bantamweight hopeful Sho Nakazawa who debuted on August 24th 2013 when he took on Thai visitor Dejchai Bovigym. Whilst Dejchai was a debutant himself it really didn't seem like any amount of experience would have helped him as the talented Nakazawa picked his shots, showed superior speed and devastating power which ended the bout after around 80 seconds.
This bout may not really have shown how Nakazawa copes with adversity but it was still a brilliant debut for the then 20 year who left every fan in attendance with the knowledge that they had seen a very promising prospect in action.
(Video courtesy of yasu boxer)
Some times watching a professional fighter make their debut can be a frustrating to say the least. That was certainly true in the case of talented South Korean Ja Ik Goo who, for around 90 seconds was part of a stinker as he, and his opponent Jung Hoon Go did very little actual fighting. In fact during the first 100 seconds of the bout the men were given 2 warnings from the referee who told them to actually fight.
Sadly for Go this was effectively the start of the end and Goo decided to really let his hands go and fight. Within moments of Goo letting his hands go he had hurt and then dropped Go who was simply unable to cope with the combinations and venomous power of Goo. Moments after getting up from the first knockdown Go was back down and this time time the referee stopped the contest.
We've never see Go return to the ring but Goo has since become the Korean Light Welterweight champion and is genuinely one of the very few South Korean fighters who really interests and excites us. Goo appears to have the tools to go a very long way and we hope to see him make the most of those tools to become the next Korean boxing star.
(Video is courtesy of boxer1973)
We'll be the first to say that not many South Korean fighters right now really take out fancy or catch our eye. One of the few exceptions is Ja Ik Goo who, we are massive fans of.
Good really has all the tools to make a big name for himself. He has skills, he has the Korean mentality, he has speed, he has a amateur background, he has power and, most importantly, he has the wonderful killer instinct.
Almost all of those traits were on show in Goo's second professional bout when he took out Kazuki Hayashi in spectacular fashion. The bout started slowly, though after about 2 minutes Goo opened up with one of the most breath taking assaults we've ever seen from a novice and left Hayashi out cold near the ropes showing his speed, combination and power in thoroughly impressive fashion.
Amazingly just 1 fight later Goo claimed the Korean Light Welterweight title stopping the experienced Taek Min Kim to further enhance his reputation as the most exciting young fighter in Korean boxing. Hopefully he'll manage to get some international exposure sooner rather than later as he has all the traits of a man who could bring major attention to Korean boxing. Interestingly Hayashi has yet to return to the ring following his painful loss.
(Video courtesy of Hyun KIM)
Here we include some of the best, most interesting, most exciting or most eye catching videos from around the Asian boxing world.