The Best Boxers from South Korea
South Korea has an underrated boxing history, beginning in the second half of the 20th century and continuing through today. Right here, take a look at this collection of the top 5 best South Korean boxers of all-time.
1. Jung-Koo Chang (1980-1991): “The Korean Hawk” was the finest fighter to come out of South Korea and his nation’s first fighter to be inducted into the IBHOF. Lost a split decision to Panamanian great Hilario Zapata, before returning the favor and claiming the WBA 108-pound crown in 1983 with a 3rd-round knockout. Chang defended that crown 15 times. Of his 16 title-fight wins, 8 came against fighters who would go on to win world titles. Retired as reigning champion with one avenged loss, before financial problems brought him back, where he lost 3 of 4.
2. Myung-Woo Yuh (1982-1993): “Sonagi” won his first 36 fights, which included 18 world title-fight victories. Yuh defeated a good champion in stringbean Mexican Joey Olivo in 1985, before embarking on a lengthy title reign. He added power to his incredible speed as he progressed. In 1990, Yuh faced his toughest challenger in 4-division champion and unbeaten Leo Gamez, winning a unanimous decision. He would repeat the win in his next defense. Yuh lost his title to talented Japanese Hiroki Ioka in 1991 by split decision, waiting a year to get a rematch, which he won by majority decision. Made one more defense before retiring as champion in 1993.
3. Ki-Soo Kim (1961-1969): Talented southpaw junior middleweight cleaned up on the Asian scene, before setting his sights on world title honors. His 1966 win over 65-0 Nino Benvenuti was a huge upset at the time, earning Kim the WBA and WBC 154-pound titles. Among his defenses were wins over top Americans Stan Harrington and Freddie Little. His only 2 losses came in his final 3 fights.
4. Sung-Kil Moon (1987-1993): Power-punching two-division champion won the WBA Bantamweight title in only his 7th fight over unbeaten and tough Thai Kaokor Galaxy. Made two defenses before losing title back to Galaxy. Dropped to 115 pounds and beat undefeated power-hitter Nana Konadu for the WBC 115-pound crown. Moon went on to make 8 defenses, including another win over Konadu and several other former or future champions before losing his title in 1993. Of his 22 bouts, 15 were world title fights.
5. Soo-Hwan Hong (1969-1980): In 1974, Hong traveled to South Africa and unseated WBA Bantamweight Champion Arnold Taylor by dominant 15-round decision. Unfortunately for him, his reign ran headlong into the greatest bantamweight era of all time, and Hong soon found himself on the wrong side of two knockouts at the hands of Alfonso Zamora. He was still able to dominate a demanding Asian scene during this time. In 1977, he rose from 4 second-round knockdowns to smash incredible 17-year old Hector Carrasquilla in the third to claim the WBA 122-pound crown.
Definitely some very noteworthy names on this list of the best South Korean boxers of all-time. Which South Korean fighters from the present day have a chance to work their way into top 5 contention?