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Herrera Dials In On Kim Inside Of A Phone Booth

By Jason Petock, Doghouse Boxing
Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera

Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera vs Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim

Mauricio Herrera vs. Ji-Hoon Kim

(Photos © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)


Corona, California was the place and Friday Night Fights on ESPN was the thrilling setting for an action-packed slugfest between Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (19-3/7 KOs) and Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim (24-9/18 KOs) in a 10 round bout of attrition that was aired on Thursday, May 2, 2013. While the younger Kim may have put in slightly more rounds during his career as a professional with 186 rounds boxed to his challenger’s 154, it was the more boxing educated Lake Elsinore, California fighter in Herrera who out-boxed and pummeled the younger Korean who fights out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for at least 8 of the 10 rounds fought. The fight was mainly fought within the confines of a telephone booth, with Kim pushing his head and body into Herrera’s chest the entire evening.

With wild, flailing punches and more of an off balance kilter than a true boxers stance, “Volcano” attempted many times to erupt on “El Maestro” yet failed to do so due to his incredible lack of pugilistic ability and clear confusion when it came to basic boxing fundamentals and proper punching techniques. Ji-Hoon was primarily known for being a knockout artist in his native South Korea on a victorious run from 2006 – 2010, when Kim TKO’d 7 opponents and KO’d another 5 as well. A hard right hand was mostly Kim’s key to success in those earlier bread-and-butter bouts, but he was up against a far more experienced boxer in Herrera who had both the chin and the skills to get the job done against the hard-pressing but extremely sloppy onslaught of an outclassed Ji-Hoon.

Mauricio came out from the opening bell composed and focused, finding his range and feeling out Ji-Hoon in the opening round for the possibility of an actual threat or skill level. Yet it was more than apparent from the opening stanza that Kim did not have the skill, technical acumen or ring savvy to outbox or even hurt Herrera who couldn’t manage to bring his power with him to 140, seeing as this was his first fight as a Junior Welterweight. “Volcano” would have been better off staying at Lightweight, were even what seems like the most minor of differences in 5 pounds can make a world of difference when a fighter can normally drop someone in the ring, yet once they step up a division or two can’t crack an egg with a punch.

Not that Kim would have been able to crack an egg against Herrera, a boxer who knew how to step to the side and utilize his angles, escaping Ji-Hoon’s roughhouse tactics and smothering, while landing thudding counters of his own that rattled the South Korean fighter and made him look all the more less experienced with every blow that he caught cleanly to the dome over and over again. The lack of boxing competency and education in Kim showed immensely against Herrera, as he stood with his shoulders squared up, ate leather all-night long, and literally had no answer for Herrera’s 1, 2 combinations and punching off the ropes.

Both men fought toe-to-toe in close quarters, but it was Herrera, not Kim (whose “in-fighting” basically consisted of pushing, leaning, arm locks and shoving), who was more effective in the fight. Herrera got off first and got off often, while Kim chose to try and steamroll ahead over Herrera, with a method that failed to work with a craftier and more tested boxer in “El Maestro”. It is obvious that Ji-Hoon totally relies on his power and nothing else at this point. Trying to bombard whoever he faces with poor punching and leaning in and over reaching with blows, the “Volcano” failed to deliver against Herrera and fell very short in his efforts by trying such a fight plan when facing a fighter who understandably gets the brass tacks of boxing. The conditioning is obviously there with Kim but without proper training and only relying on power punching and not even an amateurish ability in the ring; his career may be short-lived if he continues his campaign in the 140 pound division here in the U.S.

Sincere congratulations and respect are extended to Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera for his truly masterful performance against a game but outworked and extremely limited and incapable Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim. It appeared, at least on paper, that Herrera was designated to be a proving ground of sorts for Kim, a kind of warm-up contest in a new division, with Ji-Hoon testing the chin and mettle of a seasoned U.S. boxing veteran known to be able to take a punch. Kim’s motor was working on high overdrive, and Herrera felt it of course, as all of the stifling and forceful in-your-face tactics that the South Korean boxer implemented all but forced him to take at least 2 rounds off to rest. Making it look easy and displaying the guile and aptitude that one would typically expect from a ring veteran with one highly notable victory over Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2/15 KOs) for the then vacant IBF North American Light Welterweight title back in January of 2011, Herrera has once again shown his worth in his most recent victory over Kim. He was indeed “El Maestro” as Ji-Hoon was as much a student of the game as he was an onlooker of his own defeat. Class dismissed.

Jason Petock responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to Jason at:


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