Tomorrow fight fans in China will be able to see WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] defending his belt against "interim" champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠]. The bout, which had been in talks ever since the end of last year, had struggled to be made but is now set to get a ridiculously huge audience as Zhong attempts to become a 2-time world champion.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight for the contest.
On the scales the champion was 104.5lbs and looked in great shape. He looked to be slightly taller than the challenger and is much younger than Zhong. It is however set to be his first bout outside of Thailand and it will be in his opponents homeland, which could lead Knockout to have the judges, as well as the fans against him.
Zhong, who looked genuinely incredible for a 35 year old Minimumweight, was around 104.71lbs. This will be his first bout since a controversial win over Panya Pradabsri, aka Petchmanee Kokietgym, last October. That win saw him claim the WBA "interim" title, but this is a much tougher bout than that one, and he's up against one of the division's best fighters here.
Related-Knockout goes to China to take on former champion Zhong!
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
This coming Friday we'll see WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] battle against WBA "interim" champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠] in China.
The bout will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and today he left Thailand to head to China for the contest.
At the airport he and his team spoke to some members of the Thai press. They revealed that Knockout was in good shape, but still had 2.5KG's, which is 5.5lbs, to lose before the weigh in on Thursday. That shouldn't be too much of a problem, though what could be an issue is fighting in China and it's clear that the crowd will be cheering on Zhong, who was China's first ever world champion.
Knockout's team, especially his trainer, seemed relaxed, but know they need to keep their fighter focused on the bout ahead. If he can do that then he should be able to over-come Zhong and continue his reign but if he takes his mind off the job at hand he could end up like countryman Panya Pradabsri, who was controversially beaten by Zhong last October..
Related - Knockout goes to China to take on former champion Zhong!
(Image courtesy of Thairec)
Last week we reported that WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) [木村翔] would defend his belt against Filipino challenger Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19) on July 27th in China. It's not been revealed that that will be one of two world title fights on the show.
The other world title fight will see WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] defending his belt against WBA interim champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠], ending rumours of a rematch between Knockout and former champiuon Byron Rojas.
The bout between Knockout and Zhong had been on and off all year, though is now signed and sealed for this July card, with Knockout's promoter confirming the bout to a number of Thai sources.
It would seem as if the winner of this will have to face Rojas next time out, as a mandatory defense of the WBA Minimumweight title In theory this would give chance Rojas a chance to have a warm up bout, as he's been out of the ring since December 2017.
We've known for a while that Ryoichi Taguchi (27-2-2, 12) [田口良一] was aiming to make a May return to the ring to defend his WBA "super" and IBF Light Flyweight titles against Hekkie Budler (31-3, 10). Despite that fight being spoken about since the very end of 2018 it's not yet been really spoken too much about, with the contest almost becoming an after thought, as the division continues to shape it's self against the two talented fighters.
According to sources in Nicaragua the Taguchi Vs Budler bout is pretty much a done deal, with a date of May 19th and a venue in Tokyo looking to be announced shortly. The winner of that bout would be then mandated to take on Nicaraguan puncher Felix Alvarado (31-2, 27), with that bout looking like to take place in either the late summer or at the end of 2018.
Although we are pretty confident about Taghuchi Vs Budler we really haven't had much else reported about the card, though it is likely to feature IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (9-0, 7) [京口 紘人]. He's not been very strongly linked to anyone as of yet, though a bout with former WBA champion Byron Rojas (24-3-3, 10) would be a very interesting match up and one that looks possible given that Rojas appears to be getting over-looked by the WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], who was ordered to face Rojas though is said to be close to securing a fight with China's Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠]. Originally thr WBA had ordered Knockout to face Rojas, but it looks like the WBA have allowed the Zhong bout, and it could open the door to the Rojas Vs Kyoguchi bout, which would be mouth watering.
Again my of Kyoguchi's future is speculartive, but with Nicaraguan sources reporting the date for Taguchi Vs Budler the pieces do fit for a very good looking double header.
This coming Tuesday WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (16-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] will make his next defense, as he takes on Filipino fighter Toto Landero (10-1-2, 2). The bout is widely viewed as a mismatch in favour of the champion, and it seems even his team see the contest as a foregone conclusion with sources in Thailand reporting his next bout is 80% sorted.
The sources report that after, or rather if, Knockout defeats Landero he will then be moved towards a fight with WBA "interim" champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠], ending a protracted build up to the two fight that has rumbled on since last year.
Although no date has been mentioned for the Knockout Vs Zhong bout the sources are reporting it will take place in China. Give the typical time scale for bouts of not in China we'd suspect the complete bout to be made for either September or October, and it would be interesting to see how Knockout fares outside of Thailand, though he would be strongly favoured against the former WBC champion.
Knockout faces Landero in next title defense!
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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