We've long known about a Chinese card set for March 20th, but for the most part the bouts hadn't beeen announced. That changed today when several contests were confirmed, include a really interesting test for local Lightweight hopeful Yongqiang Yang (9-0, 7) [杨永强], who we now know will be taking on teak tough Japanese visitor Takuya Watanabe [33-7-1, 18) [渡邉卓也], in what is a huge step up for the Chinese fighter.
The bout, which will be for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight Title will see Yang making his first defense of the title. The 25 year old Chinese fighter turned professional around 2 years ago and has compiled a decent record already, but his best are against limited foes from China and Indonesia, with this bout being a massive leap up in class, but one that will see him being very well rewarded if he can win as he will move towards a world ranking.
As for Watanabe, the Japanese fighter is one of the more under-rated fighters from Tokyo. The 29 year old from the Aoki gym has fought through out Asia, picking up wins in Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong, but this will be his first fight on the Chinese mainland. Given his success on the road the experience of fighting in China won't be an issue, and neither will Yang's unbeaten record, as Watanabe has mixed with fighters like Masayuki Ito, Satosho Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa.
Incidentally Watanabe's stable mate, and current WBO Flyweight champion, Sho Kimura is seen as a popular figure in China after defeating Zou Shiming in Shainghai last year, and is expected to work Watanabe's corner for this bout.
Another interesting bout confirmed for this card today will see Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (12-0-1, 4) [葉列恰提·尼合買托拉] battling against Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-0, 4) in a regional title bout at Bantamweight, whilst promising Thai Wanchana Menayothin (9-0, 4) will battle against Que Xu (11-2-1, 4) [徐雀] in a bout for a regional Featherweight title.
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