Over the last 12 months or so things have really began to change in Chinese boxing. The Major League Boxing cards have become less a fixture and instead we've been having more and more good, solid, all round cards with tough match ups between locals and visitors.
Today we got one such card with a China Vs Japan theme, that ended with two amazing bouts to close the show.
The first of those saw world ranked local Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3-1, 5) record a narrow win over highly regarded Japanese prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-1, 4) [山内涼太] in what may end up being one of the best bouts on Chinese soil in the entire of 2019. The bout was thrilling from the off, and got even more explosive when Tuolehazi dropped Yamauchi in round 3 with a huge right hand. The power of Tuolehazi seemed to shake Yamauchi again later in the round as the Chinese fighter, who had started well, needed to show a lot more respect to the Chinese fighter.
Yamauchi would himself score a knockdown, from a gorgeous left hook to the body, later in the right and it seemed like he had done enough to just edge a razor thin decision after 12 rounds. The judges however gave it to the local, in what appeared to have been a split decision, given the crowd reactions to the scores as they were read out. Despite the loss Yamauchi showed a lot here to like, whilst Tuolehazi scored his 6th straight win, and extended his current unbeaten run to 10, including other notable wins over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym and Jayr Rquinel. The win nets Tuolehazi a WBA regional title at Flyweight.
The second bout went Japan's way, as the often over-looked Yusuke Konno (15-4, 8) [今野裕介] surprisingly stopped Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-3-1, 6) [拜山波] in the 11th round. Konno managed to make his power pay early on, dropping Baishanbo in the opening round, but the Chinese fighter fought back well, and was likely in the lead as we entered the championship rounds. The good effort from Baishanbo always came with a risk and in round 11 he was dropped, hard, by a Konno right hand. The Chinese fight would get up, but do so just after the 10 count, to give Konno a huge win.
For Baishanbo this is his first stoppage loss, but his third loss in 6 bouts. For Konno it sees him extending his current winning run to 4 fights and claim the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title.
Earlier today the Kadoebi Gym took to twitter to announce 2 international bouts that their fighters would be involved in on March 30th in Shanghai, China. And if we're being honest both bouts like like they could be very interesting.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) [今野裕介] take on Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] in a 12 round bout at Light Welterweight.
Coming in to that one Konno, the Kaoebi promoted fighter and the under-dog, is riding a 3 fight winning run including upset wins over Kazuya Maruki and Vladimir Baez. Baishanbo on the other hand is entering the contest on the back of his technical decision win against Venezuelan Ernesto Espana. The bout will see Baishanbo risking his WBA International title, and his #14 WBA world ranking, a single place ahead of Uzbek Shakhram Giyasov at the time of writing.
Despite that bout being an interesting one it's the other bout that interests us more, and that will see the very highly regarded Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) [山内涼太] take on Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5), who will be risking his WBC and WBO world rankings. This Flyweight bout will also be over 12 rounds, and according to the tweet will also be for a WBA International title which hasn't been fought for since Artem Dalakian defended it in August 2013.
For those unaware Yamauchi is one of the best prospects in Japan and is a 24 year old with insane talent, who already holds wins over Lester Abutan and Yota Hori. This is however a huge step up in class for the fantastic boxer-puncher. Tuolehazi on the other hand is a world ranked Chinese fighter with wins over Kwanthai Sithmorseng and OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel. He's a cruder fighter, but more proven at this point than the Japanese prospect.
It should be noted that there is at least one other notable bout expected to be announced for this card in the coming days, and could be bigger than both of these contests.
Below- The tweet from Kadoebi confirming these two bouts.
After some fisticuffs at yesterday's weigh in we were looking forward to some fireworks in China as Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] took on Venezuelan puncher Ernesto Espana (26-2-1, 21) in a bout for the WBC International Light Welterweight title.
Those fireworks came early and the massive looking Espana made the most of his size and power edge in the opening minute, dropping Baishanbo with a messy combination that didn't really look like it landed clean but still did damage. Baishanbo looked to regroup but Espana came forward and landed a few good combinations as Baishanbo looked to solve the issue of being so much smaller than Espana. He tried rushing in, and that resulted in a cut for Espana over the right eye. The cut passed a doctor's examination but an issue given how early in the fight it occurred. Espana was then dropped himself from a left hand as Baishanbo showed he too could punch.
Sadly the first round was pretty much it for fireworks with the rounds that followed it all being much less interesting as Baishanbo began to show a lot of respect too Espana, his power and his size. Rather than fighting his usual aggressive style Baishanbo began to box on the back foot, rely a lot on movement and essentially make Espana tire himself out by following the Chinese fighter. It was a frustrating game plan from the Chinese fighter, who was either too far out, even for Espana's reach, or was rushing in with his quicker feet.
On neutral grounds the tactics of Baishanbo wouldn't have pleased judges, they were negative and frustrating. In China however they seemed to please the judges, and kept him out of danger.
With Espana concerned about the cut and the judging he was unable to take too many risks, though was still the aggressor for the most part, and seemed like the man trying to make a fight, whilst Baishanbo tried to avoid having a fight, picking his moments instead.
Espana's cut was looked at again in round 4, with the bout allowed to continue, but it seemed clear that the cut could be an issue down the line. Baishanbo did his best to make the cut more of an issue, targeting his left hook, and charging in with his head, causing more damage to the eye.
The damage continued to get slightly worse until the very start of round 8, when the doctor finally waved the bout off. Although the cut had worsened it hadn't become a massive problem for Espana, in fact his biggest issue was that at 37 he lacked the energy to chase Baishanbo. Despite that the doctor deemed it bad enough to stop the bout.
The judges cards all favoured Baishanbo, who took the technical decision, though probably wouldn't have got it outside of his homeland and we suspect he'll be relieved by the win and the fact he has escaped the "Kraken", as Espana is known.
Baishanbo seemed to feel Espana's power in the first round and wanted little to do with it afterwards. For Espana this will be a disappointing loss, and at the age of 37 it's hard to see where he goes from here, especially given his freakish dimensions, power and the sense of danger he brings to the ring.
Tomorrow fight fans in China will be able to see Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (14-2-1, 6) [拜山波] take on Venezuelan foe Ernesto Espana (26-1-1, 21) in a bout for the WBC International title at 140lbs.
Today the two fighters made weight, with Baishanbo weighing 139.5lbs and Espana weighing 139.25lbs.
Despite both making weight the weigh in didn't go off without a hitch, as the two men came close to a brawl on the scales.
It's unclear why these two felt the need to have a fight before their bout, but it's not the first time Baishanbo has been involved in an incident at the weight in, with a fight almost breaking out when he weighed in for his bout with Rikki Naito in Japan last year.
(Image courtesy of cq.cqnews.net / Yan Yishe)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (18-2, 6) [内藤 律樹] fight as a fully blown Light Welterweight for the second time, and take on Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-1-1, 5) in a key match up of a Japan Vs China show.
The bout looked like a mouth watering one on paper, when it was first announced, and became even more notable after the weigh in yesterday, when the two men came close to landing blows well before they had got into the ring.
In the ring the bout began with a technical side, with both men looking to establish thier jabs and win control of the ring. To begin with that seemed to suit Naito, who was quicker and seemed more intelligent with his footwork. As the bout went on however Naito began to slow and Baishanbo began to press, having more and more success with his pressure.
The pressure of the visitor saw him coming on really strong in the late rounds, but it wasn't enough to over-come the early success of the Japanese favoyurite, who took the deicison with scores of 77-75 and 77-76 in his favour, whilst the third judge had it 79-75 to Baishanbo, in what was a very close and competitive contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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