end the on going talk about Zhilei facing off with Anthony Joshua, a bout that Sky had been behind but now looks to be a delay, if even still on the mind of those connected to Joshua.
The issue won't effect Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) [孟繁龙], who is still expected to take on Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16) on the show.
We want to thank Jia Chuntian for breaking this news.
Earlier today Matchroom Boxing announced the line up for their next "Monte Carlo Boxing Bonanza" show, set to take place at the Monte Carlos Casino.
The card, or rather the 4 bouts announced for it, featured a less than great line, but did include a couple of Chinese fighters in what will be a chance to impress a new audience.
One of the Chinese fighters is unbeaten Light Heavyweight Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) [孟繁龙], who will be taking a huge step up in class to take on popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). This is a really stiff test for the unbeaten Chinese southpaw, but an upset win would see him boost his profile in the west and likely climb up the IBF rankings, where he is currently ranked #12. For Buglioni this is a great chance to get himself back into the world rankings.
The other Chinese fighter is unbeaten Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) [张志磊], who is taking on 41 year old giant Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25). Zhilei, an Olympic Silver medal winner, has been linked to a fight in 2019 with Anthony Joshua and it seems like this is a chance for him to shine in front of an British and American audience against an opponent with a known name and to build his profile. Ustinov was last seen in the ring last November, when he lost to Manuel Charr and we're not expecting him to look particularly good here against the unbeaten Chinese fighter.
As well as the two bouts with Chinese fighters there was two other bouts announced. One of those will see Russian Cruiserweight Denis Lebedev (31-2-0-1, 23) taking on unbeaten American Mike Wilson (19-0, 8) whilst the other will feature WBA Super Flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (24-0, 15) defending his best against Israel Gonzalez (23-2, 10), who was beaten by Filipino Jerwin Ancajas back in February and is a very underwhelming challenger for the English champion.
This past week we've seen the British press link unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) [张志磊] to a potential bout with world champion Anthony Joshua. The talk is that the bout, a rematch of the 2012 Olympic Quarter-Final, would help Joshua raise his profile in China and the US.
Today we Zhang in the ring in China, in front of relative small audience at the Changsha social work college gymnasium, a venue a long way removed from Wembley where Joshua recently fought Alexander Povetkin, and a venue that looked half filled at best.
Despite being a million miles away from the glitz and glamour of a pay-per-view bout in Wembley Zhang did shine as he easily defended his WBO Oriental Heavyweight title, dismantling heavy handed American fighter Don Haynesworth (15-3-1, 13) in 3 one-sided rounds.
After a slow opening Zhang picked up the pace late in the opening round, with the crowd reacting and the two men fighting well after the bell which was hard to hear due to the crowd reactions. The second round saw Zhang pick up where he'd finished the second round and Haynesworth was essentially a human punching bag, taking a beating and throwing little in return. That continued in round 3 until the referee saved the American, who was taking bombs on the ropes and looked out on his feet.
From what we understand the plan now is for Zhang to fight in Monaco in November, on an Eddie Hearn show against an opponent of some name value. Whilst he looked impressive here we doubt the 6'6" southpaw would look particular good against anyone who is actually world class and stepping into the ring with Joshua in 2019 would certainly not end well.
If the belief is that Zhang is a big name in China it appears the fans in the country aren't aware of it. The small venue didn't fill, the bout wasn't streamed rather than aired on TV and the reality is that he gets less press time in China than "Dragon King" Zhang Junlong, another fighter who needs to step up. In an ideal world we'd get a mini-Asian Heavyweight tournament with Zhang, Junlong and Kyotaro all facing off to unify their various regional titles. Sadly though it seems all 3 are happy to fess inadequate opposition until they get a chance to fight for a huge pay day and a world title.
Tomorrow on CCTV5 we'll see unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (19-0, 15) [张志磊] defending his WBO Oriental Heavyweight title against heavy handed American fighter Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13).
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
The unbeaten Chinese fighter his the scales at 258.2lbs which is lighter than he was last time out, when he blasted out Eugen Buchmueller in 63 seconds. Interestingly Zhilei has stopped his last 6 opponents in the opening round, and 7 of his last 8.
The American challenger, who was the shorter man, was heavier as he weighed in at 277.4lbs, which is marginally lighter than he was back in June against Hassan Lee. Despite being the heavier man he didn't look terrible on the scales.
Interestingly if Zhilei wins there is talk that he will be back in the ring in November in Monaco in a 10 round bout as he looks to move towards a potential world title shot.
Unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (19-0, 15) [张志磊] will return to the ring on September 28th in Changsha, China, as he looks make his first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title and continue a 6 fight run of opening round victories.
The 2008 Olympic Silver medal winner will be up against fellow puncher Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13), from New York, USA, who will be having his first bout outside of the US.
Zhilei comes into this bout following and impressive 8 fight stoppage run, but has got a lot of questions to answer in regards to his competition, and on paper this is a credible step up in class for "Big Bang".
Although no world beater Haynesworth is likely to be a good test to see how legitimate Zhilei is. To date Haynesworth has been stopped once, by the world class Bryant Jennings, and this bout will give Zhilei a chance to be compared with the former world title challenger.
Another excellent bout on this card will see China's Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) take on OPBF Flyweight champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBC Silver Flyweight title. The 25 year old Tuolehazi lost 3 of his first 5, but has since gone 6-0-1 (4) with notable wins overs Noldi Manakane, Takeshi Kaneko, Kwanthai Sithmorseng and Yokthong KKP, showing that he has got something about him. Raquinel has also impressed, with recent wins in Japan over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka, and is a legitimate puncher on the Oriental level. The winner of this one will find themselves pushed way up into the WBC rankings and will close in on a potential world title fight.
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