For many this past Saturday night was about Heavyweight boxing and it's return to the US with the WBC Heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. Supposedly the bout was to “bring boxing back”, as Showtime repeatedly told us in an unironic way that seemed to ignore the fact boxing had never “gone away”. It wasn't just the WBC Heavyweight title fight that took place in the US however and on a completely different show there was a trio of Chinese fighters, two of which were making their professional debuts.
The one man who wasn't making his debut was an unbeaten Heavyweight who debuted on ESPN though was featured in a farcical contest. That was Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei (2-0, 2) who scored his second early win as he stopped the debuting Perry Filkins (0-1) in just 70 seconds. This was less of a joke than Zhilei's debut, a very quick win over the “glass shouldered” Curtis Lee Tate but was farcical in it's own way with Filkin's being an MMA fighter who competes at a much lower weight than Zhilei.
Whilst Zhilei's win was perfect as he could have wished the same cannot be said for Meng Fanlong (1-0) who “only” took a majority decision over the win-less Marcellus Yates (0-2). The bout was scored as a shut out by 2 of the judges though the dissenting judge managed to find a way to have the fight a draw. On paper this is unlikely to really hurt the talented 26 year old Light Heavyweight but it's clear that he'd have preferred not to have had an “MD” on his record so early on.
The other debutant was Wang Zhimin (1-0) who kicked off his professional career with a wide decision win over fellow debutant Kin Moy (0-1). Zhimin was a standout in the 2011 WSB and appears to have a lot of potential though the key is building on that potential and hopefully he'll be guided correctly.
Whilst we can't comment on boxing being “back”, heck where did it go?, we will say that we like the idea of Chinese talent emerging. Whether there is in China or the US, or elsewhere on the planet, the emergence of Chinese fighters is likely to be major news in the next 10 years
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