The final bout of the big show in Suzhou, China, today saw Jiang Wang (7-1-1, 2) [王健] and Sung Young Yang (6-2-5, 3) [양성영] battle for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Bantamweight title. On paper this looked one of the shows most even bouts, and a potential gem, hidden on a card with bigger names.
From the opening moments it seemed like both men wanted to make a statement as the stood and traded blows. Each time one would get the upper hands the other would return fire, in a round that looked more like the 12th round of a close fight than the opening round of a youth title fight. It was an exhilarating way to start the fight, though showed the technical flaws of both men, who looked relatively slow and clumsy. Those flaws didn't hinder the excitement however and likely contributed to the brilliant back and forth that continued in the following round.
It was clear, very early, that this wasn't going to be a bout with technical wizardry but instead a reliance on toughness, work rate and desire. Round 2 saw the desire of Yang being much more noticeable as he backed up Wang regularly. Wang fired back but more often than not was the man heading backwards, under the pressure of the Korean visitor.
Wang started round 3 hot, unloading an incredible amount of leather in the first minute. That seemed to come at a cost however as he visibly slowed as a result. By the end of the round he appeared to slow down and it was as if the pace was getting to him. That however didn't stop him from gritting his teeth in subsequent rounds the two men continued to brawl like cave men, fighting back and forth in a manner befitting a car park outside of a local pub.
As the rounds went on it became clearer that the judges were going to struggle to split the two men, with neither really doing enough to differentiate themselves from their opponent. On one hand that was awful, leaving a close bout in the hands of the judges, on the other hand it was wonderful, knowing that every round would be important to the result. It seemed to be playing on the mind of both men as we entered the final stages, and they both began looking for the hail Mary shot to close the show. That shot never came and we ended up going to the judges after 10 rounds.
The scorecards were 97-93, 93-97 and 95-95, resulting in a split decision draw. It was a fair result, and will hopefully lead to a rematch as this was thoroughly entertaining, despite a lack of obvious skills and boxing IQ.
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