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Two major S. Korean pro boxing organizations plan to merge

All Headlines 15:53 January 09, 2017

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- Two major South Korean boxing organizations said Monday they will merge to revive the popularity of the sport in the country.

The Korea Boxing Commission (KBC) and the Korea Boxing Federation (KBF) said they plan to complete the move this year. Both sides said they will soon form a special committee to discuss details on the merger.

In the first step toward the merger, the KBC and the KBF said they will send their boxers to an event titled "Dream Fights: KBF vs. KBC" on Jan. 22 in Incheon. This is the first time that the boxers from each organization will go head-to-head.

"This is the event that we all wanted," KBC President Hong Soo-hwan said at a press conference. "It's a pity that the South Korean boxing community is divided, although we don't have lots of boxers these days. This is the event for the unity."

Hong said he will become an honorary president after the merger, while KBF President Lee In-kyung will lead the integrated body.

"I'm very happy that we now have an opportunity to further develop South Korean boxing," Lee said. "We want to produce world boxing champions again and work harder for boxing development."

There are currently four major pro boxing organizations in South Korea. With the KBC and the KBF sharing the majority of the pie, the Korea Boxing Association (KBA) and the Korea Pro Boxing Federation (KPBF) have also taken the share.

The KBF was founded in 2014 by former officials of the KBC. The KBC and the KBF have been at odds since, going through legal battles over the control of the boxers and blaming each other for interfering with their respective authority.

The KBF is currently the largest boxing organization by the number of gyms registered, while the KBC, which was founded in 1965, is the oldest boxing organization in South Korea

The leaders of the two organizations said they want to put aside past disputes for the sake of South Korean boxers.

"A boxing organization can't live without boxers," said Hong, former World Boxing Association bantamweight champion. "We want to have an organization that can fight for the boxers' benefits."

The KBC and the KBF said they have yet to determine the name of the merged body.

"It's true that there's still debate about what the name of the new organization should be," Lee said. "We will probably have to put this issue to a vote."

Korea Boxing Commission President Hong Soo-hwan (6th from L) and Korea Boxing Federation President Lee In-kyung (5th from L) pose for a photo with boxers and officials at a press conference at a Seoul hotel on Jan. 9, 2017. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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