By Joe Koizumi
OPBF super-light champ Minwook Kim (10-1, 7 KOs), 139.5, retained his regional belt as he fully displayed his durability and outhustled top contender and ex-Japanese titlist Shinya Iwabuchi (21-4, 17 KOs), 140, a hard-punching southpaw, winning a close but unanimous decision (116-114, 117-115, 116-113) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. It might be rare that a boxing show starts at 11 AM on Sunday when some people go to church to pray God for presence of mind. But anything is possible in this country of Rising Sun, where Kim impressed the crowd with his good counters and aggressiveness against the prefight favorite. Aware of being behind on points (75-78, 75-79, 74-79) after the eighth due to the open scoring system, Iwabuchi accelerated his retaliation but his effort wasn’t enough to overcome his early deficits.
Korean boxing started to decline after the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988, although they once boasted twelve OPBF champs in fourteen categories. Now the number of professional boxers has been miserably decreased and we haven’t seen Korean boxers win here in Japan. Our matchmakers tried to book Korean boxers who, however, haven’t been so active though being ranked in the Korean ratings. Under such circumstances Kim, only the current OPBF champ out of Korea, decked such a fine victory to score his third defense to his credit.
Promoter: East Japan Professional Boxing Association.