This past Sunday the KBA put on a low key card in Gimhae. Although the card was low key it did feature two WBF title fights, which in fairness are regarded about as highly as the KBA at the moment.
The first of those bouts saw Seung Ho Lee (5-0, 5) [이승호] claim the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title with a 2nd round KO of Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-2, 4). Sadly specific details are scarce, though our understanding is that the Thai was dropped in the first round being being stopped.
It should be noted that the records both men are credited with by the KBA are a lot different to the Boxrec ones, with Lee now being listed as 5-2 and Girapan being 13-14-1.
The second title fight saw Hee Jung Yuh (21-3, 11) [유희정] score a 5th round win over Thai visitor Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-15, 1) to retain the WBF International female Super Flyweight title, with these records matching up to those given by the KBA. Prior to the stoppage the scores 40-36, twice, and 40-37, all in favour of Yuh who is now 6-0 (4) since losing to Naoko Fujioka in October 2015.
Given the quality of the Thai opponents it sort of sums up the level of a WBF title fight, and how disappointing the KBA match making is at the moment, though there it does seem like the KBF and BoxingM are taking things in right direction and hopefully pressure will force the KBA to pick up it's quality from these sorts of shows.
Unbeaten, and hard hitting, Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Ruslan Myrsatayev (6-0, 5) [Руслан Мырсатаев] continued his winning run earlier today as he faced off with Ukrainian Pavlo Krolenko (0-2) in Astana.
The Kazakh was in complete control from the first round, applying constant pressure on to his 37 year old Ukrainian opponent, who regularly found himself with his back against the ropes. To his credit Krolenko showed a good defense to soak up the pressure, as Myrsatayev chugged forward round after round, but was unable to ever land a major telling blow.
Krolenko did little to try and win the bout, though landed a few counter shots off the ropes as Myrsatayev's aggression left him a little bit open at times, but the reality is that Krolenko set out his stall to survive and to frustrate the Kazakh. Myrsatayev however was determined to finish the bout, and in round 8 landed a series of straight left hands, showing even in the final round that he wasn't happy to just ease for the win, instead he wanted to extend his perfect KO record. That final round was a painful one for Krolenko, but one he again saw out, despite the referee having a close look at the Ukrainian.
On one hand Myrsatayev will be annoyed his stoppage run has come to an end, on the other hand the bout serves as a great learning experience for the Kazakh. Prior to this bout Myrsatayev had fought just 9 professional rounds, had never gone beyond 4 rounds and had hurt fighters when he landed. Today the Kazakh proved his stamina, though it still clearly needs to be worked on, and got taught that he can't just blast through opponents. Hopefully the experience here will teach the 33 year old that he needs to work on opening fighters up, finding new gaps and having more variation in his work.
A lot of credit needs to go to Krolenko for lasting the 8 rounds here, and he may well be the next tough journeyman that the Heavyweight division is looking for. He's win less so far but has already taken two unbeaten prospects, deeper than they had gone before, and may well find himself in the niche position of being brought over to country's test out supposed punchers early in their career.
Back in April fans saw Kazakh fighter Aidar Sharibayev (8-1, 6) [Айдар Шарибаев] suffer he first loss, being stopped in 10 rounds by Andrew Cancio in a bout for the WBA Inter Continental Super Featherweight title in Indio, California. Today he bounced back from that loss with a dominant win over Ukrainian Artem Ayvazidi (11-14-1, 5) in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The Kazakh fighter dropped his man twice in the bout, in round 1 and in round 3, but was unable to stop Ayvazidi, who has typically shown good survival instincts in the past. With Ayvazidi fighting to survive, rather than win, the decision was never in doubt, even without the knockdowns, and Sharibayev returned to winning ways.
At the moment it's unclear what the future holds for Sharibayev, though it does seem clear that whilst he is a heavy handed fighter his potential is limited, and real work will need to go on behind the scenes before he fights for a title again. He is a fun fighter to watch, and he is aggressive, but he is clearly lacking a touch of class that he'll need at a higher level, and he'll also be disappointed here in not stopping Ayvazidi, given how one sided the bout was.
Earlier today in Astana fans were able to see unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Ablaikhan Khussainov (10-0, 7) [Хусаинов Абылайхан] fight for the first time since leaving Canadian promoter Eye of the Tiger Management.
The unbeaten 27 year old, who had fought his last 8 bouts in Cananda, was in with the over-matched Ukrainian debutant Maksym Moroz (0-1) in a bout scheduled for 6 round, though the Kazakh only needed 3 rounds to see off his man.
Khussainov took the first round to see what Moroz had before scoring his first knockdown in the second round. From then on it seemed like a case of "when" and not "if" he was going to get a stoppage. It didn't take long for the Kazakh to turn the screw in round 3, dropping his man twice, as the bout concluded in a dominant win for Khussainov.
Interestingly this was the Kazakh's first bout in his native country, and at the moment he's a promotional free agent. It's unclear who is in the pursuit of his signature, though this show was promoted by the Astana Arlans and Kanat Islam, so it's possible that he he's being looked at as a potential face for boxing in Kazakhstan. If that is the case they will need to match him much tougher than this to build last interest, as this was far too much of a mismatch to really help Khussainov's development.
After some fisticuffs at yesterday's weigh in we were looking forward to some fireworks in China as Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] took on Venezuelan puncher Ernesto Espana (26-2-1, 21) in a bout for the WBC International Light Welterweight title.
Those fireworks came early and the massive looking Espana made the most of his size and power edge in the opening minute, dropping Baishanbo with a messy combination that didn't really look like it landed clean but still did damage. Baishanbo looked to regroup but Espana came forward and landed a few good combinations as Baishanbo looked to solve the issue of being so much smaller than Espana. He tried rushing in, and that resulted in a cut for Espana over the right eye. The cut passed a doctor's examination but an issue given how early in the fight it occurred. Espana was then dropped himself from a left hand as Baishanbo showed he too could punch.
Sadly the first round was pretty much it for fireworks with the rounds that followed it all being much less interesting as Baishanbo began to show a lot of respect too Espana, his power and his size. Rather than fighting his usual aggressive style Baishanbo began to box on the back foot, rely a lot on movement and essentially make Espana tire himself out by following the Chinese fighter. It was a frustrating game plan from the Chinese fighter, who was either too far out, even for Espana's reach, or was rushing in with his quicker feet.
On neutral grounds the tactics of Baishanbo wouldn't have pleased judges, they were negative and frustrating. In China however they seemed to please the judges, and kept him out of danger.
With Espana concerned about the cut and the judging he was unable to take too many risks, though was still the aggressor for the most part, and seemed like the man trying to make a fight, whilst Baishanbo tried to avoid having a fight, picking his moments instead.
Espana's cut was looked at again in round 4, with the bout allowed to continue, but it seemed clear that the cut could be an issue down the line. Baishanbo did his best to make the cut more of an issue, targeting his left hook, and charging in with his head, causing more damage to the eye.
The damage continued to get slightly worse until the very start of round 8, when the doctor finally waved the bout off. Although the cut had worsened it hadn't become a massive problem for Espana, in fact his biggest issue was that at 37 he lacked the energy to chase Baishanbo. Despite that the doctor deemed it bad enough to stop the bout.
The judges cards all favoured Baishanbo, who took the technical decision, though probably wouldn't have got it outside of his homeland and we suspect he'll be relieved by the win and the fact he has escaped the "Kraken", as Espana is known.
Baishanbo seemed to feel Espana's power in the first round and wanted little to do with it afterwards. For Espana this will be a disappointing loss, and at the age of 37 it's hard to see where he goes from here, especially given his freakish dimensions, power and the sense of danger he brings to the ring.
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