Earlier today Matchroom Boxing announced the line up for their next "Monte Carlo Boxing Bonanza" show, set to take place at the Monte Carlos Casino.
The card, or rather the 4 bouts announced for it, featured a less than great line, but did include a couple of Chinese fighters in what will be a chance to impress a new audience.
One of the Chinese fighters is unbeaten Light Heavyweight Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) [孟繁龙], who will be taking a huge step up in class to take on popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). This is a really stiff test for the unbeaten Chinese southpaw, but an upset win would see him boost his profile in the west and likely climb up the IBF rankings, where he is currently ranked #12. For Buglioni this is a great chance to get himself back into the world rankings.
The other Chinese fighter is unbeaten Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) [张志磊], who is taking on 41 year old giant Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25). Zhilei, an Olympic bronze medal winner, has been linked to a fight in 2019 with Anthony Joshua and it seems like this is a chance for him to shine in front of an British and American audience against an opponent with a known name and to build his profile. Ustinov was last seen in the ring last November, when he lost to Manuael Charr and we're not expecting him to look particularly good here against the unbeaten Chinese fighter.
As well as the two bouts with Chinese fighters there was two other bouts announced. One of those will see Russian Cruiserweight Denis Lebedev (31-2-0-1, 23) taking on unbeaten American Mike Wilson (19-0, 8) whilst the other will feature WBA Super Flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (24-0, 15) defending his best against Israel Gonzalez (23-2, 10), who was beaten by Filipino Jerwin Ancajas back in February and is a very underwhelming challenger for the English champion.
Earlier today fight fans, worldwide, had the chance to tune into a Chinese stream on the Sina website. The card wasn't a huge one but it did feature 3 title bouts, all of which were won by Chinese fighters who may find themselves moving towards bigger and better fights later this year.
The highest profile of the bouts was a Heavyweight clash that saw Zhang Zhilei (14-0, 10) [张志磊] make light work of Australian Peter Graham (11-4-1, 5), and claim the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. Graham had talked the talk before the bout but was down twice in the opening round, and stopped in the final seconds of the round.
Another unbeaten Chinese hopeful picking up a title was Meng Fanlong (10-0, 7) [孟繁龙], who easily saw off Gasan Gasanov (12-5-1, 10) to claim the WBO Oriental Light Heavyweight title. Gasanov had been in good form, winning his last 4 by stoppage, but failed to last even a round with Fanlong who needed just 112 seconds to score the stoppage. Sadly for the Russian this was his 5th stoppage loss, and it seems clear that he hasn't got the toughness to take a shot, despite having some decent power of his own.
The most interesting of the title bouts saw Wang Zhimin (8-1, 3) [王志敏] claim a wide decision win over Thai Patomsith Pathompothong (16-7, 6) [ปฐมสิทธิ์ เกษตรพัฒนา], to claim the WBO Oriental Super Lightweight title. Zhimin dropped the Thai in round 3 then went on to dominate the fight with the Thai failing to even claim a share of a round en route to a decision that saw Zhimin win with cards of 100-89, from all 3 judges.
(Image courtesy of Sina)
Earlier this year we saw China's exciting, but limited, Qiu Xiao Jun (21-3, 10) [裘晓君] fight in his first wold title bout, losing by stoppage to Venezuelan veteran Nehomar Cermeno. Today the "Dragon" returned to the ring, for his first bout since that loss, and looked like a much improved fighter as he dismantled over-matched Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-2-3, 15) in the main event event of a card in Thailand.
From the opening round Jun looked hungry to prove himself and never looked like a fighter doubting himself. He quickly established his dominance in the contest, backing Udtohan up at will and in round 3 found a home for his right hand, landing it so frequently that it seemed obvious the end was neigh.
After a barrage of shots Udtohan eventually went down and failed to recover giving Jun a straight forward 3rd round win, and one that will clearly boost his confidence following the loss to Cermeno.
Incidentally Jun's bout actually played live on Chinese TV and was above the card despite the fact that Jun's conqueror Nehomar Cermeno (25-5-1-1, 15) defended the WBA Super Bantamweight title on the same show, stopping Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-1, 5) [ณพ ฐิติพงศกร] in 3 rounds.
On the same show we saw 3 other bouts, all streamed online. One of these saw Can Xu (10-2) [徐灿] score a decision win over the very spirited Ramiro Blanco (14-1-3, 7), with Blanco pushing the action through out but never hitting with the force needed to hurt Xu, who retained his WBA International Super Featherweight title. Despite failing to make weight Blanco showed great stamina and he would make for an interesting opponent for other prospects in and around the Lightweight division.
Another saw Zhilei Zhang (12-0, 8) stop the hilarious bad Georgian Gogita Gorgiladze (32-14, 27) in about 70 seconds. The Georgian, who suffered a 7th stoppage loss, was down in the first 30 seconds or so and never looked comfortable afterwards with "Big Bang" hardly breaking sweat. It should be noted that the visitor is a natural Cruiserweight and was giving away close to 40lbs at the weigh in and it does leave us wondering if that was supposed to be merely a showcase for Zhang.
A much more interesting China Vs Georgia bout saw Fanlong Meng (9-0, 6) getting the rub of the green to over-come the very hungry Zura Mekereshvili (18-6, 14). Meng was down in the opening round and again in round 4 as Mekereshvili put him under immense pressure from the opening moments to the final bell. The Chinese fighter, who was 1' taller than his opponent, could never establish distance and had to put up with the Georgian forcing him back through out. Had this been outside of China we genuinely think Meng would have suffered his first defeat.
According to boxing record website boxrec.com there is a Chinese show set for September 30th and it looks like a really intriguing one with a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight headlining the show, along with another title fight and the ring return of one of China's brightest hopes along with two unbeaten compatriots.
The returning Chinese fighter is Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9) [裘晓君], who was stopped earlier this year. The promising Jun isn't get an easy return from his loss and will instead take on the once beaten Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-1-3, 15), who will know that this is his chance to make a mark on the sport. Jun will be favoured but it's a stiff return for the "Chinese Dragon".
In another non-title bout Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (11-0, 7) will be up against Beka Lobjanidze (14-4, 12). Some may recognise Lobjanidze's name and that's because the Georgian has been a journeyman through Europe in recent times sufferign stoppage losses to Dillian Whyte, Otto Wallin, Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora, with Chisora stopping him in 30 29 seconds last year. Zhilei, an Olympic Silver medal winner, should win here but it's hard to see what the 33 year is going to achieve in his career.
Another unbeaten Chinese fighter on the card is Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6), who faces Zura Mekereshvili (18-5, 14). The unbeaten Meng is looking to build on wins over Rob Powdrill and Daniel Judah from earlier this year, however he is with a tough guy who can punch. Mekereshvili has only been stopped once but has lost to almost every fighter with a winning record that he's faced. We suspect Meng will win with out too many issues, but it may not be the most exciting of bouts.
In one of the title bouts we'll see Xu Can (9-2) defending the WBA International Super Featherweight title against unbeaten Nicaraguan Ramiro Blanco (14-0-3, 7). For Can the bout will be his second defense, and he will be looking to build on wins against Isaias Santos Sampaio anmd Corey McConnell from earlier this year. Nicaraguan fighter Blanco is risking his unbeaten record in his first bout outside of his homeland. It's hard to see much of note on his record, though he did claim the WBA Fedecentro Featherweight title earlier this year.
The other title bout will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) take on unbeaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5) [ณพ ฐิติพงศกร]. Cermeno, who defeated Qiu Xiao Jun earlier this year by stoppage, will be returning to China for this bout which will be his first defense of the title. For Nop the bout is a very tough introduction to world class, however he has been one of the more under-rated and technically sound Thai's emerging through the ranks and certainly has the skills to go all the way, though this bout may have come too soon.
What we need to note is that we have to find anything from the Chinese press confirming the show, but given the wealth of details on boxrec it does seem like show is set in stone and hopefully Chinese confirmation, TV details and promotional material will be made available shortly!
Last night fight fans in New Jersey had the chance to see two Chinese fighters pick up wins as they both continued their perfect winning runs.
One of those was Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (11-0, 8) who claimed a very one-sided win over the tough but out classed Rodney Hernandez (10-5-1, 2). Zhang, an Olympic medal winner, dominated all 6 rounds of the bout with two judges scoring the bout 60-53, whilst the third some how had it 59-55. Zhang's control of the bout saw him leaving Hernandez with a cut over his right eye, a bloodied nose, and generally being beaten up. Notably this bout was originally set as an 8 rounder but only went 6 rounds before the cards were read, which seemed to annoy Hernandez, though the reality is that Hernandez would have just taken 2 more rounds of punishment.
Aged 33 Zhang is unlikely to reach the top of the sport, but he can certainly run up a nice record before getting a cash out fight in the coming years.
The other Chinese fighter was the really promising Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6), who recorded his best win to date as he scored a 5th round TKO against the very experienced Daniel Judah (24-11-3, 11). The talented 27 year old was taking a major step up in class though managed it with ease as he dominated the 38 year old Judah before securing a 5th round TKO. Judah, now years from his prime, may not be a top fighter, and is 13 years removed from a draw with Glen Johnson, but this was a good step up for the Chinese fighter who now needs to push on and build from this victory.
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