Over the past few weeks we've been building towards a major card in Shanghai, which will take place this weekend. The card, promoted by Top Rank, will feature 9 bouts in total with the main event being a WBO International Flyweight title fight between Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) [鄒市明] and Natan Santana Coutinho (12-0, 10).
The bout list confirmed many of the bouts we knew would be on the card, including a Middleweight bout between Ryota Murata (8-0, 5) [村田 諒太] and Argentinian veteran Gaston Alejandro Vega (24-10-1, 10), however it also featured a surprise.
That surprise was the fact that IK Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) [杨连慧] supposed bout with unbeaten Thai Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12) [เฉลิมพล สิงห์วังชา] wasn't going to take place on the show as originally rumoured.
The bout has been called off following an injury, in practice, suffered by Yang. The Chinese crazy man was supposed to be returning to the ring for the first time since his loss Cesar Rene Cuenca last year.
Despite the cancellation it seems likely the men will face off later in the year, with the the bout hopefully being re-arranged, with a possible March date being mentioned by the Thai media, who seem to have been informed that the bout will now take in Macau.
For those interested in the bout sheet it can be seen below
Earlier today in Macau saw the weigh ins for tomorrows show at the Venetian, Macau. The most notable of the fighters being weighed were Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) and Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2), who will be fighting tomorrow for the IBF Light Welterweight title.
On the scales Yang was the slightly heavier man, weighing in at 139¾lbs, around ¼lbs lighter than he was in his last two fights. The charismatic Chinese slugger didn't looked ripped but certainly didn't look bad either, and appears to have full filled into a solid looking Light Welterweight.
Cuenca was 139½lbs on the scales a similar weight to what he's been through out his his long career. The Argentinian veteran has never been lower than 137¼lbs, which he was in 2009, and never higher than 141¾, which he weighed in at in 2008.
The two men will fight in the main event of "Victory at the Venetian", the show will be televised internationally with Boxnation, in the UK, being one of the major broadcasters. Other parts of the card will be streamed live, and free, over Top Rank's own streaming service http://www.toprank.tv.
Ik Yang meets Cesar Rene Cuenca as he looks to become China's second world champion! (Preview)
(Image courtesy of Sumio Yamada)
Late last week it was revealed that American fighter Mickey Bey (21-1-1-1, 10) had pulled out of a scheduled IBF Lightweight title defense against Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19). Bey was stripped for pulling out of the fight, with the IBF making the right decision, though the short notice pull has done no favours for Top Rank, TV, fans or Shafikov who have all been left high and dry.
Thankfully Top Rank have found a late replacement foe for Shafikov with Indonesian fighter Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3, 21) now standing in to face Shafikov.
The Indonesian isn't a world beater by any means but he shouldn't freeze on the big stage and this isn't the most significant bout of his career. In fact the Indonesian fighter has fought at the world level before taking on WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama back in 2010, though he was stopped in 5 rounds by "KO Dynamite".
Strangely at the time of writing this bout is listed, on the official bout sheet, as taking place at Super Featherweight, we'd however be shocked if Shafikov was coming to the ring at 130lbs given that he had, until very recently, been preparing for a world title fight at 135lbs.
On the latest version of the bout sheet there is 8 bouts for the show. That includes the exciting main event between Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) and Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2), who meet for the IBF Light Welterweight title in a very attractive looking match up, and support bouts featuring Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22) and Rex Tso (16-0, 9), who will both be looking for wins ahead of prospective world title bouts later in the year.
For fans wanting to see the full bout list we've included it below as a PDF.
(Image courtesy of toprank)
Note-Our good friend Mikko Marttinen has reliably informed us this bout is actually at 137lbs, not the 130lbs as listed on the bout sheet. As always thank you Mikko.
We've known for a while that Bob Arum's Top Rank promotions would be returning to Macau on July 18th. Now it seems like the card is really coming together with a number of bouts confirmed for the show and other fighters signing up for the card.
We've been told that the main event of the show will be the IBF Light Welterweight title bout between China's exciting Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) and Argentina's light hitting Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2). The bout has been made the main event of the card due to the fact Yang is a Chinese fighter, and it also helps that he's a charismatic enigma with a fan to watch style and some peculiar mannerisms.
For both Yang and Cuenca this will be their first shot at a world title, and has come about following the IBF's decision to strip Lamont Peterson, who managed to defend the title 3 times in more than 3 years.
The most interesting thing about the main event is the huge difference in styles between the two men. Cuenca certainly has ability but his lack of a punch really makes us wonder about how he's going to cope with Yang's pressure, unorthodox offense and power. Likewise Yang's often wild swings may well work in favour of Cuenca who may be able to find holes in the Chinese slugger.
The Yang Vs Cuenca bout won't be the only world title bout on this card following the confirmation that Mikey Bey (21-1-1-1, 10) will be defending his IBF Lightweight title against Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19). This really has the potential to be a very interesting, or a very dull, bout. Bey is a talented slickster with good handspeed and movement but can send an audience to sleep very easily whilst Shafikov is a talented pressure fighter, though one who can look flawed at times. Incidentally Shafikov has previously challenged for this same title, also in Macau, though came up very short against Miguel Vazquez. It was Bey who later took the title from Vazquez in a very forgettable bout that was marred with a many claiming a robbery.
As well as those two confirmed world title bouts we've also been told of three other men who have been confirmed for this card. The biggest name from those 3 men is former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22), another is exciting Flyweight Brian Viloria (35-4-0-2, 21) whilst a third is the unbeaten Jose Carlos Ramirez (14-0, 11).
Interestingly we know that Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) will not be on this card. At the moment however it's unclear whether Rex Tso (16-0, 9) or Kuok Kun Ng (7-0, 3) will be in action. We'd be shocked if at least one of them wasn't though at the moment it seems unlikely Tso will be. Of course when the show was first mooted the hope was to get Tso a world title fight with WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono, though the WBA scuppered those plans by demanding that Kono defended his title against Koki Kameda. We suspect Tso will be targeting the winner if the Kono/Kameda bout which is also expected to take place in July.
Last week we reported that Chinese slugger Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) could get a world title fight in the summer. The main condition for that fight was that Lamont Peterson would have had to lose this past weekend when he fought Danny Garcia in a 143lb catchweight bout. As we're sure you're aware Peterson did indeed lose that bout, dropping a controversial majority decision to Garcia, and subsequently the IBF have stripped Peterson of the title.
As a result the IBF have ordered Yang, the #2 contender, to fight fellow unbeaten Cesar Rene Cuenca(47-0-0-2, 2), the #1 ranked contender.
The bout is now being eyed as the potential bout for the July 18th card in Macau promoted by Top Rank. Of course a deal between Yang's team and Cuenca's will need to be made but with the money available to fight in Macau, especially in a world title fight involving a Chinese fighter, it will be an offer simply too big for Cuenca to say no to.
For those who have seen Yang this is likely great news. He might not be the most skilled fighter on the planet but he is among the most exciting and entertaining with a very unique and unusual style. As for Cuenca he's best known for his lack of power and for being a some what frustrating fighter to watch, certainly not comparable to compatriots in and around the same weight, such as Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse.
The news is likely to be a good news-bad news situation for Chinese fans as it's becoming highly unlikely that Rex Tso (16-0, 9) will get his anticipated WBA Super Flyweight world title bout that was mooted earlier in the year.
Ik Yang may get summer world title fight!
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!