On Friday we reported that the planned Olympic qualifying event for Asia and Oceania region, which was scheduled for February in China, was set to be re-arranged, for a date in March (Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Asia & Oceania to be re-arranged to March). Just moments ago we were informed of the full details for the re-arranged event.
Our sources have informed us that the qualifying even will take place from March 3rd to March 11th and will occur in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
Previously it was though that either India or the Philippines were the favourite to host the event, if China couldn't, though Amman has been decided as the best option.
The even has had to be rescheduled due to the break out of coronavirus in Wulan, the city that was supposed to host the even from February 3rd to February 14th. Of course the medical situation rightfully lead to the tournament being rescheduled, and we're glad that things have been sorted as quickly as they have.
Earlier today the purse bids for the IBF Light Welterweight bout between world champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12) and unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong, went ahead, with Downua's co-promoter Sampson boxing putting in the winning bid.
Sampson boxing, who co-promote Downua with Kiatkreerin, bid $1,320,000 for the rights to host the fight, pipping Taylor's promoter Top Rank, who bid $1,260,000. The winning bid will be split with 65% of the purse going to the champion and the challenger taking the other 35%.
Interestingly it was Sampson boxing who pushed for the purse bids for the fight, and came in strong with their bid, with Sampson calling for the purse bid process on January 14th.
Reports are that Sampson will be looking to host the bout in the UK, though it's worth noting that Downua's other co-promoter, Kiatkreerin, had stated they were hoping to get the fight staged in Thailand, where their man would have a significant advantage.
Although boxing isn't as profitable in Thailand as it is in some countries Thailand is unlike any other country in boxing, and has the most obvious advantages for a local fighter. Whilst every country has questionable decisions no other country makes it an art form in giving their fighters the best chance of success. Fights in Thailand are often fought out doors, in blistering heat, his levels of humidity, in the middle of the day, with visiting fighters often put up in questionable hotels. An away fighter, in Thailand, is put in a very awkward position, explaining why Kiatkreerin would want the fight at home.
The UK however would bring more money to the table, and Sampson could be seeing the bout as a chance to make a short term profit by holding it in the UK and building on Taylor's WBSS win, whilst also upsetting Top Rank in the process.
We expect to see a lot more details about regarding the plans for the bout to be revealed in the coming days.
Earlier this month we saw Kazakh fighter Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-2-1-1, 12) [Бахтияр Эюбов] suffer his first stoppage loss, as he was stopped by American prospect Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23). Despite being really beaten up by "Boots" Ennis in that bout Eyubov has revealed that he returned to the gym just days later and is already looking at a potential return to the ring.
The fighter has spoken to Kazakh media and explained that despite the loss the promoters enjoyed his effort and are looking to organise his next fight, potentially for March.
Just as interesting is the fact that Eyubov is not angling for a March return but also a move down in weight, explaining that he will be fighting at a weight that is more suited to him. That would see him campaigning at 140lbs, where his physicality and power would be more effective than it's been at 147lbs.
Aged 33 Eyubov clearly doesn't have time to waste, and a march return at 140lbs would be a quick turn around, and a potential new chapter in his career, which has been a struggle in recent fights against very talented and promising Welterweight prospects and contenders.
Earlier today fight fans in Thailand saw WBC Asia Diamond Super Bantamweight champion Kongfah CP Freshmart (31-1, 16), aka Jakkrawut Majoogoen, retain his title as he took a decision over rugged Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (18-44-8, 6).
On paper the bout was a mismatch but, as we've seen from Berwela in the past, this wasn't completely one sided with Berwela doing enough to take a few rounds from the Thai.
Berwela applied pressure early on, though Kongfah neutralised it with good movement and boxing. Kongfah tried to control the tempo and pace though was always under pressure and his clean and accurate punches, couldn't back Berwela up. To his credit however the Thai was landing the better single blows, and it was those that were catching the eye of the local judges. It was also worth noting the Thai actually suffered an injury early on to one of his arms, which made it harder for him to back Berwela up, or get the Filipino's respect.
After 10 rounds all 3 judges had it 97-93, though the scores don't do justice to how hard the Thai had to work to earn the win.
(Image courtesy of Petch Yindee Boxing Promotion / Komthai.com)
Earlier in the week the Olympic Qualifying Tournament that was set to take place in Wuhan was cancelled! This left major question marks about whether or not the February 2nd Top Rank show in Haikou would follow suit.
Soon after the Wuhan event was cancelled China actually announced a that Beijing was on lockdown and that festivities, which were being held for Chinese new year, would be cancelled on medical grounds.
Although this didn't relate to Haikou directly it did seem like it would take the decision out of Top Rank's hands, especially given how the virus can, and has, spread, rapidly.
Late last night Top Rank did what was expected and cancelled the event.
At the moment it's unclear what the plan is, though Top Rank and ESPN will begin looking at other options for the fighters, notable the men in the main event which would have pitted Jose Carlos Ramirez (25-0, 17) and Viktor Postol (31-2, 12), who were were set to fight in a mandatory defense.
It would seem likely that either the show will be shifted geographically, potentially taking place on the same date but elsewhere, or whether it will need to be shifted in terms of date.
Notably Ramirez was actually set to fly out to China yesterday, though was obviously made aware of the decision to cancel the show, and advised not to travel to China. Postol however is currently in China, where he was putting finishing touches to his preparations, and may end up being stuck there for the foreseeable future.
The decision to cancel the event saw Top Rank release an announcement, explaining the situation.
Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol Junior Welterweight World Championship Fight Postponed Due to Coronavirus in China
(Jan. 23, 2020) — Jose Ramirez’s WBC/WBO junior welterweight world title defense against former world champion Viktor “The Iceman” Postol — originally scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN from Mission Hills Haikou in Hainan, China on Saturday, Feb. 1 — has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The Ramirez-Postol bout will be contested at a date and venue to be determined.
“The health and safety of our fighters and everyone working on the event is the most important thing,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We hope the situation is brought under control soon. We look forward to staging events at Mission Hills Haikou in the very near future"
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