By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
QINGDAO,CHINA- Tanzanian Abdallah Paziwapazi upset the hometown favorite Zulipikaer Maimaitiali of China in their battle for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title.
Both boxers threw bombs after the opening bell but both also showed tough chins in the early going. Close quarter exchanges continued in the second round much to the delight of the fans who gathered at the TSSG Center.
In the third round, Zulipikaer had Paziwapazi hurt but as he moved in, the Tanzanian landed a crisp left to the jaw that sent the Chinese boxer crashing to the canvas. Zulipikaer got up on shaky legs and had saliva pouring out of his mouth. Referee Sawaeng Thaweekoon of Thailand allowed the fight to continue and Paziwapazi poured it on prompting the stoppage. The time - 1:23.
The Tanzanian corner celebrated. This was reminiscent of Paziwapazi’s win in Shanghai in 2016, a third round stoppage of Russian Andrey Kalyuzhny. Paziwapazi is now 26-6-1,23KO’s while Zulipikaer drops to his second loss at 11-2-1,7KO’s.
The WBO fight was supervised by WBO VP for Asia Pacific Leon Panoncillo. This regional bout served as the main event of the first of a two-day fight card promoted by SECA and Top Rank.
For the undercards:
Filipino Jesson Inso (10-8-1,3KO’s) lost to China’s Mielifeier Dalielibieke (7-1,6KO’s) in round five of a six rounder. Mielifeier dropped Inso with a hard uppercut to the midsection and Referee Han Honxiang reached the ten count with Inso on all fours.
Zhang Xianhai beat Lu He by unanimous decision, Li Jiaming won by fourth round TKO against Gao Yiping, Xia Huadong lost in pro debut by unanimous verdict to Dilixiati Simayi and Morocco’s Ayoub Grine stopped Jia Xibei in the opening round.
PHOTO – Abdallah Paziwapazi celebrates his win in Qingdao
One of the most insane things about 2018 was the number of upsets we saw, and sadly for Asian fighters they tended to be on the wrong end of the upsets. We had fighters like Daigo Higa, losing to Cristofer Rosales, Ryota Murata, losing to Rob Brant, and Yoshihiro Kamegai, losing to Greg Vendetti. We also saw some near misses, with Hiroki Okada only just edging Cristian Rafael Coria and Can Xu just taking the win over Enrique Bernache.
For us however the upset of the year was the surprising win by Filipino icon Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight quarter-final, where he defeated Ryan Burnett.
Burnett started as a 1/7 favourite. Few gave Donaire any chance. He was 35 years old, had lost 2 of his previous 3 and was dropping from Featherweight to Bantamweight for the bout. In fact not was Donaire dropping several weight classes, but was making Bantamweight for the first time since October 2011, more than 7 years earlier!
He was expected to come up short to the unbeaten Burnett, the WBSS #1 seed. Instead of coming in looking old and drained he looked strong, and tried to walk down the smooth moving Burnett. He was surprisingly holding his own through the first 4 rounds, before the bout was halted due to a freak injury suffered by Burnett.
Whilst the result was tainted, in a big way, by the injury that didn't stop it being a massive upset, and one of the very, very few upsets we've seen in the WBSS, which had the other 3 Bantamweight see progress to the semi-finals.
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