Today has been a hectic day for fight fans across Asia with a whole host of shows taking place across the continent. Those weren't all huge, but they featured at least one bout of some note.
The main event of this card saw talented Filipino Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14) dominate former Thai world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu Onesong (53-7, 35). Magsayo never managed to hurt Pungluang, who is a tough old rugged lump, but thoroughly dominated him and landed some highlight reel combinations in the later stages. The win saw Magsayo claim the WBC Asian Boxin Council Featherweight title, and it's now time he got a big fight. As for Pungluang it's clear he's still a serviceable fighter at regional level, but this was a 4th loss in 5 for the former WBO Bantamweight champion.
In a hotly contested bout for the GAB Bantamweight title Giovanni Escaner (20-4, 12) narrowly over-came Renoel Pael (23-10-1, 12), with a 12 round split decision. On paper this didn't look like it'd be competitive, but the styles gelled well and in the end their was very little to split the men.
In a Featherweight bout Virgel Vitor (15-2, 9) impressively destroyed Alan Alberca (11-4, 6) in 4 rounds. Vitor's power was on show through out the bout and he really did look like a brutally spiteful puncher through out. Alberca gave a good effort but was no match for Vitor and his power.
Chinese fighter Ainiwaer Yilixiati (17-1, 11) claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council and IBO Asia Middleweight titles, as he took a clear decision win over Japan's Ryosuke Maruki (16-7-1, 11). This was a 6th straight win for Yilixiati, following his 2017 loss to Jayde Mitchell whilst Maruki has now lost 3 of his last 4.
The main event here saw the talented Andika Sabu (17-0, 8) pull himself off the canvas to take a decision over Filipino Richard Rosales (14-10-2, 8). The 23 year old Sabu has got potential and time on his side, but he also has a lot of areas to work on. Sadly for Rosales he is now 2-6 in his last 8, dating back 2 years.
Unbeaten Indonesian Lightweight Hebi Marapu (15-0, 11) extended his winning run as he took a 6 round decision over veteran Isack Junior (26-12-3, 9). The powerfully built Marapu has shown promise, but at 30 years old it's now or never for that promise and we would be hugely disappointed if he fails to secure a big bout in 2020.
Bang Phli, Thailand
Hard hitting Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (11-0, 11) extended KO streak, and claimed his first title, as he stopped Nattee Thongsingcle (2-2, 2) in 3 rounds to claim the Thai Light Flyweight title. The 20 year old Thanongsak has been drubbed "Srisaket II" in the Thai press and whilst that is a big tag to live up to, he has now racked up 11 wins in just over 14 months.
On the same card veteran Mike Tawatchai (47-13-2, 30) scored a 3rd round KO win over 16 year old novice Keerati Rueangdet (0-2).
Macao S.A.R., China
Exciting young hopeful Lap Cheong Cheong (7-0, 4) shone in front of local fans as he took a dominant decision win over ShanTuo Lu (2-4). The 22 year old Cheong Cheong shut out Lu over 6 rounds, to take his second decision win of the year, following a wide decision win over Muhammad Wahid in May. Lu, who has still never been stopped, never looked competitive but did serve as good foil for the youngster to shine against.
Former world title challenger Ernesto Saulong (22-5-2, 9) came up short in a bout against the unbeaten Brock Jarvis (17-0, 15). The match up, for the WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title, was a clear win for Jarvis, who had too much of everything for Saulong who has now won just 1 of his last 5.
DEF Promotions, the Hong Kong based outfit that helped make Rex Tso a star, streamed their latest show through their Facebook account and it was an interesting one with a real international flavour thanks to fighters from across Asia.
Although much of the card was low level action it was entertaining and gave us some fantastic action.
The first bout saw 17 year old debutant Zhiqiang Zhuo (1-0) take a 4 round decision win over Chuan Hsun Hong (2-1, 1), with Hone being dropped twice, en route to to the loss. Zhuo would take the decision 38-36 on all 3 cards.
The second bout saw revenge, as Tom Taw (5-1, 2) avenged his 2017 loss to Tsun Yin Jeremy Lee (1-1), with the 4 round decision, in a very entertaining bout. Lee was dropped in round 2, from a series of hooks, and although he saw out the distance it was clear he was second best. A third bout, a rubber bout, between the two, maybe over 6 rounds, could be very worth making.
The third bout saw talented 21 year old local Lennon Tsoi (5-1, 4) bounce back from his first loss to stop Thai visitor Wichet Sengprakhon (8-6, 3). Tsoi dropped his man who retired in the corner between rounds 4 and 5 to give Tsoi the win.
One man who couldn't bounce back from a recent loss was Japan's Shogo Yamamoto (4-4, 1), who suffered a second successive stoppage loss. The Japanese visitor was beaten, bruised, busted open and then dropped by Napalese born Hong Kong based Nibesh Ghale (5-1, 4), with Yamamoto's team stopping the bout during the count. Ghale, who has now reeled off 5 straight wins since losing to Kuok Kun Ng way back in 2013, looked really fun to watch, but he clearly needs to be kept in these lower level bouts for quite some time due to his technical deficiencies.
Filipino Renz Dacquel (2-1, 1) made things worse for the travelling Japanese contingent as she beat 19 year old Nanako Suzuki (3-2, 1) in an entertaining 4 round female bout. Suzuki, who had been one of the focal points of the promotion, came out swinging, but was dropped in the first round and seemed to be under a lot of pressure in the early going. Likely feeling a lot of expectation on her shoulders. In round 4 Suzuki managed to have her best success, hurting Dacquel, but she was unable to drop the Filipino, who earned the win with scores of 39-36. This is a big win for Dacquel but also an excellent learning experience for Suzuki who showed improvement through out the bout, and had it been a 6 rounder may well have dropped Dacquel and managed to pull out a result. A rematch of this, down the line, makes a lot of sense.
The quality then took a huge step up in class, as the talented young Lap Cheong Cheong (6-0, 4), from Macau, faced Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Cheong Cheong showed his class in the opening round, showing why he is regarded as a real boxing hope for Macau, but Wahid chose to play spoiler and began making things messy the following round. Round 3 again saw the Indonesian having some great moments but Cheong's skills were still on show and he finished the round with a determined body assault. In round 4 things stepped up massively with the two trading blows towards the end of the round, with Cheong looking like he was determined to see off his man.
The determination of Cheong to stop Wahid was again on show in round 5, as he cornered his man and went to work. By this point Cheong was becoming sloppy, as his work rate was taking a toll on his crispness, but he seemed really hungry to take the Indonesian out and continued pressing hard in round 6, testing Wahid's resolve to the final bell. It was as if Cheong wouldn't accept the win without it coming by stoppage, despite clearly being up on the scorecards. Impressively Wahid survived the 6 rounds, but there was no doubting the result, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 60-54 to Cheong.
The co-feature so unbeaten men colliding, as Japan's Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) and China's Ge An Ma (6-1, 1) faced off. From the opening bell Ma was the aggressor, trying to march down the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year, he had mixed success but was proving to be hungry and aggressive throughout the first 3 minutes. Sadly for Ma his aggression cost him early in round 2, as he charged in and ate counters from the more technically schooled Japanese fighter, though his continued charge through the round saw him hurting Sasaki later in round, in what was a brilliant 3 minutes of action.
Ma continued to be ultra aggressive in round 3, trudging forward behind a tight guard, before unloading with hooks when in range, catching Sasaki from some unorthodox angles. Despite continuing to be aggressive his work rate was slowing and Sasaki was getting a better read on Ma, countering well, and landing the better blows whilst maintaining his range. The exhaustion was getting Ma as the rounds went on, and more and more mistakes were being made by him, whilst his work rate was grinding to a halt. In round 6 Sasaki jump on a mistake, rocking him in the corner and leaving him cut. The referee quickly intervened and stopper the bout, saving Ma and giving Sasaki the TKO win, saving Japanese fighters from a white wash on the show.
In the main event we saw Hong Kong's top prospect Raymond Poon KaiChing (7-2, 4) take on Chinese visitor Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) for a trio of minor regional titles. Poon,the popular local, brought the pressure to begin with, and did so in a very intelligent manner, though by the end of the round Li was starting to find his range and tagging Poon with love sharp combinations of straight shots out of the southpaw stance.
As the fight went on Li began to stay in the pocket more, and even come forward at times, but never seemed able to budge the naturally stronger Poon. Li was having moments, but they seemed to be out numbered by the more eye catching blows of Poon through the first 4 rounds.
In round 5 Li managed to have his first real break through as he picked up his output and and started to essentially suffocate Poon with his offensive work, not giving Poon any time to catch his breath. Poon would manage to create some space to work in round 6, though Li continued to press, really hammering the body of Poon up close in what was a brilliant 3 minutes of action. The incredible action continued in round 7, a round that swung one way then the other, as both men began to tire. The crowd tried to spur on the local, with a loud "Raymond" chant, but it seemed to inspire Li just as much as Poon.
Despite both having put a lot into the fight neither wanted to just accept a loss and the final rounds saw both fighters getting their second wind. The final 2 rounds were excellent, with both tiredly unloading leather, neither man willing to leave anything in the tank. Poon was the man pressing but Li was working excellently at mid range, unloading and using his speed and straight punches to try and impress the judges in the last moments of the bout.
After 10 rounds it was hard call the winner of the main event. Poon was the local, the crowd favourite and seemed likely to get the close rounds, Li had been the better boxer, landing the high volume if shots and looking the more accomplished boxer. The scores came in, 96-94, 99-91 and 97-93. The second score causing some real confusion, before Li was announced as the winner.
We had Li winning, but it was close, hotly contested and well worth a re-watch. It's one of the hidden gems of the year, and every fan owes it to themselves to give this one a watch before the year is over.
Whilst the card was certainly not a top level show, it was entertaining and DEF HK know how to put on a good lower level card or well matched bouts. Hopefully these continue, despite loss for Poon. Even in defeat his reputation was enhanced.
The action in Macau kicked off earlier today, well before the world title triple header, and featured two regional hopefuls who are creating a little bit of buzz and starting to collect titles.
The first of those in action was Macau's very own Lap Cheong Cheong (5-0, 4), who became the OPBF Youth Super Flyweight champion with an opening round win over Indian foe Hans Raj Thakur (3-1, 1). Sadly details of this bout are hard to find, though Lap is a local hopeful and we're really excited to see where he can go in the future.
The second of those bouts saw Raymond Poon KaiChing (7-1, 4) score a 3rd round win over 18 year old Thai fighter Awirut Chaladloes (5-2-1, 4) to add the WBC Youth Intercontinental Light Flyweight title to his growing collection of belts, which also includes the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title which he defended. The bout saw Poon drop his foe twice in round 3, with the Thai being stopped following the second knockdown.
Although there was no doubting the winner, the end was a bit weird with the Thai making no effort to beat the count, and looking like he was wanting to quit until the count of 7, when the referee said the bout was over. He then instantly jumped to his feet in something that would have made a professional event look silly.
One of the bouts taking place in Macau tomorrow that has been overlooked is the contest between Lap Cheong Cheong (4-0, 3) and Hans Raj Thakur (3-0, 1), who will be fighting for the OPBF Youth Super Flyweight title.
Today those two men took part in their weigh in and both men have made the 115lb weight limit.
Cheong was 112lbs on the scales, weighing in on the Flyweight limit, whilst Thakur was 114.5lbs, still under the Super Flyweight limit.
For Cheong this will be his his third bout of the year, and his first in his homeland of Macau since he made his debut there in October 2017. For Thakur it's his first bout outside of India, following his September debut. It's also the first title bout for either man.
(Photo courtesy of the OPBF)
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