Boxer becomes youngest female world championKorean teenage boxer Kim Ju-hee conquered the world of women’s boxing to become the youngest champion in a bout held at a stadium at Shingu College in Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, on Sunday.
Kim, 18, outlasted U.S. champion Melissa Shaffer, 25, on points to win the International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) flyweight title. All three judges favored Kim: 100-90, 99-91 and 100-89.
The world champion seat has been empty since October, when American boxer Yvonne Caples did not defend her title. Kim’s victory ended a streak for Shaffer of eight wins, including five knockouts, while Kim added another victory to her record. She has seven wins (two knockouts), one draw and one loss.
Kim overwhelmed Shaffer from the beginning, with strong left jabs, hooks and uppercuts. In the third round, Shaffer suffered a nosebleed and her face was stained with blood until the end of the fight. In the middle of the eighth round, Kim cornered and pounced on Shaffer but failed to knock her out.
Kim started boxing when she was a sophomore in junior high school and turned pro three years later, debuting at the national female boxing newcomers competition in 2002. Her only loss was to Lee In-young in a match for the flyweight Korean championship title. Kim was knocked out in the fourth round.
Kim graduated from Yongdeungpo Girls’ High School and postponed her college entry to compete for the IFBA title. She became the Korean flyweight champion in May and spent the last seven months in training for the title fight. Kim, who was a few centimeters taller than her opponent, jabbed at Shaffer by taking advantage of her long arms and fast footwork.
“I am glad that I accomplished my goal of becoming a world champion as a teenager,” Kim said. “I have no regret and am satisfied.”
Kim Messer, former IFBA champion and Shaffer’s trainer, who was born to a Korean mother and American father, said Kim was a great boxer and had huge international potential.
by Chang Hye-soo, Limb Jae-un