This past weekend we saw Can Xu (16-2, 2) [徐灿] score the biggest win of his career, as he claimed the WBA "regular" Featherweight title. It should however be noted that he's not the only notable Chinese fighter at 126lbs, as there is also Qiu Xiao Jun (23-4, 11) [裘晓君].
For years Jun was seen as the better fighter, the more promising man and the one more likely to reach the top of the sport. He has now been over-taken by Xu but looks set to begin a game of catch up.
Just days before Xu's bit win Jun held a press conference to announce that he would be back in the ring on February 26th to fight for the WBC International title. There was no opponent named but the show he's fighting on is supposed to have 5 bouts, with several title bouts. And Jun is also eyeing the chance to fight for a world title sooner rather than late, with some Chinese sites reporting June though that does seem stupidly early to get a shot.
Sadly we've not yet been informed of Jun's opponent for his February bout, or in fact any of the other bouts on the card, though we have been informed that the card will take place in Shenzhen.
In December 2016 Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) [裘晓君] suffered his second loss to veteran Nehomar Cermeno, losing a clear 12 round decision bout to the Venezuelan. Since then the Chinese fighter has split with his long term promoter and been inactive, weighing up his options for the future, and for his ring return. Recently his return was confirmed, as part of an upcoming WBC show in Hangzhou on June 9th.
The announcement was that June would end his 18 month from the ring to battle against Thai foe Petch Kokietgym (32-1, 5), AKA Sodsai Phankamkerd, in a bout for the OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title and a chance to become the top challenger for Japanese veteran Hidenori Otake.
The Dragon, as Jun is known, suffered his two most recent losses in 2016 to Cermeno, being stopped in 12 rounds in June before losing a decision in December. They were his first defeats in more than 3 years, following losses to Jonathan Baat in 2013 and 2012. Between those defeats he had avenged the losses to Baat and become a pretty notable fringe contender thanks to wins over the lieks of Sllvester Lopez and Raymond Commey. The success he was having was leading him on his way to become one of the faces of Chinese boxing, prior to the set backs to Cermeno in bouts for the WBA Super Bantamweight title.
The Thai turned professional in 2007 and won his first 7 before losing to Jason Egera in 2009 in the Philippines. Since then the Thai has gone 25-0 and is unbeaten in around 9 years. On paper that sounds impressice but his level of competition has been poor and Qiu will be the toughest opponent he'll have ever faced in his 33 fight career.
The card is expected to feature other notable fighters but the reality is that Jun's return to the ring is the shows big selling point for the local fans.
Acording to sources in China 2-time world title challenger Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) [裘晓君] has broken away from long term manager Lui Gang, with the two said to have been having a public spat in recent times, with accusations being thrown both ways.
The two had been together for 6 years though it appears Jun, who twice lost in world title bouts to Nehomar Cermeno last year, has left the relationship due to financial issues and a lack of trust with the manager who had guided his career to two title fights. Gang on the other hand is said to have been annoyed about the way Jun has left him and the accusations made by the fighter, as well as a lack of professionality from Jun.
Both have spoken about the falling out, and it does seem that both may have some fair points, but the reality is that one of the most fruitful and notable relationships in Chinese boxing has broken down.
By it's self the story looks like another in a long line of fall outs between fighter and promoter, but digging deeper it could well be a telling damnation of the Chinese boxing scene, which has shown some promise at times, but has been stumbling in 2017. Not only has the most powerful Chinese promoter lost his most notable fighter but the biggest name in Chinese boxing, Zou Shiming, has struggled to get funding for his first world title bout. The hope of making China into another boxing country is faltering and the downturn in the gambling sector in Macau certainly hasn't helped things.
It's unclear if Jun is set to sign with a new promoter, walk away from boxing of become self promoted, but it's clear that this fall out is one of the most significant in Chinese boxing. It's potentially lead to a lack of trust between fighters and Gang, and if Jun's words ring true other fighters may also be ready to speak out about him, whilst Jun may potentially have shown a sign of petulance, and could see promoters turn off him going forward.
Earlier this year we saw China's Qiu Xiao Jun (21-3, 10) [裘晓君] come up short in his first world title title, as he suffered a 12th round TKO to Venezuelan Nehomar Cermeno (25-5-1-1, 15) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. Now the two men will be going at each other again with a rematch having been set for December 17th in Hangzhou city, China.
The bout will see Cermeno fighting in China for the third time this year and attempting to defend the title for the second. The first of those bouts saw him defeat Jun for the title back in June with the second bout coming in September when he stopped Nop Kratingdaenggym, with those bouts taking place on Beijing and Wenzhou respectively. It will be his 4th bout this year, which is a surprise given he had fought once between September 2013 and December 2015.
For Jun the bout will be a second crack at a world title, and although he was easily out boxed, and then stopped, by Cermeno in their first bout he did look and improved fighter last time out, when he easily beat Robert Udtohan in 3 rounds, in a bout that served as the main event on the card that also featured Cermeno Vs Nop. If he can avenge his defeat he'll have managed to have beaten every man he has shared the ring with, having previously avenged his other two losses, and could also see him become the second world champion from China.
Also said to be on this card is a bout between Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (36-0, 27) [ถิรชัย กระทิงแดงยิม] and Venezuelan Ivan Matute (15-0, 11) with the two rumoured to be fighting for the WBA "interim" Welterweight crown, though the bout still needs rubber stamping from the WBA.
For those who haven't seen the first bout between Cermeno and Jun we've featured it below.
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.
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