At the end of March we reported that China's Xiong Zhao Zhong (26-6-1, 14) [熊朝忠] would be in action on May 25th in Beijing, on a card that will be headlined by the rematch between Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5) [อำนาจ รื่นเริง] and Johnriel Casimero (21-3, 13).
Yesterday we learned that Zhong had had his opponent named, and that the card it's self is coming together with an interesting under-card of Chinese fighter.
Zhong's opponent in his IBF Minimumweight title eliminator will be Colombian fighter Jose Antonio Jimenez (16-5-1, 7), who had previously been mentioned as a possible opponent for Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr.
The Colombian fighter has a less than great record, though has rebuilt following a 10-5 (3) start. In fact since the end of 2013, when he was beaten by Ramon Garcia Hirales in Mexico, he has gone 6-0-1. Saying that however his competition has has been weak and those last 7 bouts have all come in his homeland, where he's been facing domestic competition, and sometimes struggling with them
For Zhong the bout will be his first since he was beaten by APB star Lu Bin in an exhibition style bout for CCTV5 over the Chinese New Year. He's looking to build on his recent role as an IBF ambassador and will be hoping to earn another world title fight, in fact he's hoping to become China's first 2-time world champion.
As for the under-card it's already had 4 Chinese fighters added to it, though none of them have had opponents named. Those fighters include Zong Ju Cai (6-1, 1) [蔡宗菊], who is said to be involved in a possible world title eliminator, Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei (8-0, 5) [张志磊], who is fighting in China for the second time as a professional, Fanlong Meng (6-0, 4) and Zhimin Wang (5-0, 2).
Amnat Ruenroeng Vs Johnriel Casimero set for May 25th!
(Image courtesy of sports.sina.com.cn)
This weekend certainly isn't a huge one for fans of Asian boxing but there is some bits and bobs to be interested in. Two such bouts come from Oakland where two promising Chinese fighters will be in action.
One of those fighters is Light Heavyweight hopeful Meng Fanlong (1-0) who will be looking to build on his debut win as he battles against Albert Avina (0-3). The 27 year old Southpaw is tipped as a hopeful though some do question how far he can really go, especially given that he's now 27 and hasn't been particularly busy since since signing his professional contract.
The other is Light Welterweight Wang Zhimin (2-0) who faces the more experienced Jose L Guzman (6-10-1) in an interesting 6 rounder. Zhimin is viewed as a genuine prospect with a lot to be excited following his successful campaign in the 2011 World Series of Boxing.
Ahead of these bouts we were sent a video of Zhimin's training day session courtesy of @lukieboxing.For those interested here is that video of Zhimin training courtesy of the ITRboxing boxing channel.
For many this past Saturday night was about Heavyweight boxing and it's return to the US with the WBC Heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. Supposedly the bout was to “bring boxing back”, as Showtime repeatedly told us in an unironic way that seemed to ignore the fact boxing had never “gone away”. It wasn't just the WBC Heavyweight title fight that took place in the US however and on a completely different show there was a trio of Chinese fighters, two of which were making their professional debuts.
The one man who wasn't making his debut was an unbeaten Heavyweight who debuted on ESPN though was featured in a farcical contest. That was Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei (2-0, 2) who scored his second early win as he stopped the debuting Perry Filkins (0-1) in just 70 seconds. This was less of a joke than Zhilei's debut, a very quick win over the “glass shouldered” Curtis Lee Tate but was farcical in it's own way with Filkin's being an MMA fighter who competes at a much lower weight than Zhilei.
Whilst Zhilei's win was perfect as he could have wished the same cannot be said for Meng Fanlong (1-0) who “only” took a majority decision over the win-less Marcellus Yates (0-2). The bout was scored as a shut out by 2 of the judges though the dissenting judge managed to find a way to have the fight a draw. On paper this is unlikely to really hurt the talented 26 year old Light Heavyweight but it's clear that he'd have preferred not to have had an “MD” on his record so early on.
The other debutant was Wang Zhimin (1-0) who kicked off his professional career with a wide decision win over fellow debutant Kin Moy (0-1). Zhimin was a standout in the 2011 WSB and appears to have a lot of potential though the key is building on that potential and hopefully he'll be guided correctly.
Whilst we can't comment on boxing being “back”, heck where did it go?, we will say that we like the idea of Chinese talent emerging. Whether there is in China or the US, or elsewhere on the planet, the emergence of Chinese fighters is likely to be major news in the next 10 years
Around a decade ago no one associated professional boxing with China. Now however we've began to see a real emergence of boxing in the country with Chinese promotional company Zovi boxing slowly becoming a solid player on the Asian scene and shows in Macau becoming a real highlight for some. Financially the leader of the "Macau revolution" might be Bob Arum but it's fair to say that it's being spearheaded by former amateur standout Zou Shiming (6-0, 1). Shiming's move to the professional ranks hasn't been the only notable one and several other, lesser known, Chinese fighters have also gone professional.
The first of those was Kanat Islam (18-0, 15), AKA Hanati Silamu, who won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 before turning professional in 2012, and last year we saw Zhang Zhilei (1-0, 1) make his debut in the professional ranks.
Next Saturday sees two more former Chinese amateur turning to the paid ranks as Meng Fanlong (0-0) and Wang Zhimin (0-0) both kick off their professional careers.
Meng is a 26 year old Light Heavyweight who competed regularly on the international scene. Among his most notable achievements was reaching the quarter finals of the 2011 World Amateur Championships, losing to Adilet Niyazimbetov, and competing at the 2012 Olympics, losing on countback to eventual bronze medal winner Yamaguchi Falcao. On the domestic scene he really excelled winning numerous national competitions and with his age and pedigree we're really hoping to see this young fighter progress through the ranks.
Whilst we have high hopes for Meng we have even bigger hopes for Wang who won the WSB in 2011 and has already been fighting in pro-style fights. As well as his success in the WSB he has also had a brilliant history in the amateur ranks and is very highly touted. Fighting at Lightweight or Light Welterweight it's clear that Wang is going to face tough opponents if he's to make his name at the top level however the WSB will certainly have helped him and he could be fast tracked a little bit more than Meng.
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