This past weekend saw the 2nd round of fixtures in the Asian group of the World Series of Boxing.
At the Yalong Bay Conference Center in Sanya the China Dragons took on the Patriot Boxing Team.
The first bout of the evening saw Yong Chang take on Ovik Ogannisian at flyweight (52kg). There really was very little to separate the pair and going in to the last round the contest was up for grabs. The Russian showed good movement throughout the bout and landed some nice shots in the final round but it was Yong who prevailed via split decision in a fight that really could have gone either way.
At lightweight (60kg) talented Rio Olympian Shan Jun met WSB debutant Shahriyor Akhmedov. Akhmedov came out with plenty of intent but some balance and defensive frailties allowed the man from China to land the better punches through the first 2 rounds. The visitor continued to take risks to try and land his wide punches with Shan countering with more orthodox straight shots. Akhmedov showed some improved head movement in round 5 but Shan seemed to have done more than enough to claim the victory however, rather surprisingly the away man was awarded the split verdict in what was a thoroughly entertaining encounter.
With the scores now level it was Hu Richabilige against Artem Zaytsev at welterweight (69kg). Hu was on the front foot early on forcing his opponent on to the ropes and shading the opening round. Zaytsev then began to really grow in confidence and his work was far more accurate and eye catching than Hu’s. Despite attempts to up the tempo from the Chinese boxer Zaytsev’s greater variety won him a deserved unanimous point’s victory giving the Patriots a 2-1 lead.
If the Dragons had any chance of claiming their 2nd WSB win Light heavyweight (81kg) Shi Guojun simply had to overcome Danil Shved. Shved totally dominated proceedings from start to finish and the Patriot’s now had an unassailable 3-1 advantage.
The final bout was at super heavyweight (+91kg) as Wang Leilei faced Maxim Babanin. A height disadvantage didn’t prevent Babanin from constantly getting in to range and Wang’s poor work rate and stamina allowed the Russian to dictate terms and coast to an easy points win, giving the Patriots a 4-1 away victory and securing their first WSB win of the season.
Over at the Zhastar Sport Palace in Taldykorgan the Astana Arlans squared off against the Uzbek Tigers. The home side were looking for their 2nd straight win whilst a strong looking Uzbek side were aiming for their 1st victory in WSB 7.
In what looked an evenly matched bout on paper at flyweight (52kg) Olzhas Sattibayev faced Aborjon Kodirov. Kodirov was quicker out the blocks and won the first 2 stanzas with some rapid fire combinations however, Sattibayev wasn’t deterred and took control from round 3 and won a unanimous decision to get the Kazaks off to the perfect start. At lightweight (60kg) experienced WSB campaigner Zakir Safiullin took on Olympic Bronze and world Silver Medallist Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Akhmadaliev, who was moving up in weight never got going at all and was thoroughly outboxed by Safiullin who put in a fantastic display to put his side 2 nil up. The visitor had a brief moment of success in round 3 but it was nowhere near enough to thwart Safiullin from taking the spoils.
In now a must win situation, welterweight (69kg) Shakhram Giyasov took on Aslambek Shymbergenov. Similar to Kodirov, Giyasov was dominant over the first 2 rounds but was pegged back leaving the fight in the balance after 4 rounds. In an incredibly tight final 3 minutes it was Shymbergenov who got the nod via split decision and the points were now safely in the bag for the Kazaks.
At light heavyweight (81kg) Nurdaulet Zharmanov was up against Olympic and world Silver Medallist Bektemir Melikuziev. Melikuziev, who was also moving up in weight was in total control of the bout and won a unanimous decision to get the Tigers on the board. The chance of grabbing a point for the away side was snuffed out as Super heavyweight (+91kg) Kanshybek Kunkabayev overcame WSB debutant Bakhodir Jalolov via a unanimous decision to give the hosts a 4-1 victory, leaving them with 2 wins from 2.
Next up for the Arlans is another home tie against the China Dragons and the Tigers have their first home bout against the Patriot Boxing Team.
A huge thanks to Marcus Bellinger for this guest article, for those interested in following Marcus his twitter handle is @marcusknockout
This past weekend saw the start of season 7 of the World Series of Boxing. For those unfamiliar with the concept which is under the auspices of AIBA, the governors of Amateur boxing, participants don’t wear head guards or vests and bouts are 5 3-minute rounds giving a more pro-style feel to proceedings. In a change to this year’s format the 12 teams are split zonally in to 3 groups, Europe, Americas and Asia.
The action in the Asian group kicked off at the Yalong Bay Conference Center in Sanya as China Dragons took on the Uzbek Tigers.
The visitors, who reached the semi-finals in their debut season in WSB last year got off to the perfect start with light flyweight (49kg) Nironshokh Ibragimov defeating Xin Huang in his first WSB outing via a unanimous decision. Things got even better for the Uzbeks as Addulkhay Sharakhmatov dominated Long Wang to win a unanimous decision at bantamweight (56kg) to make it 2 nil.
The Dragons then received 2 slices of fortune as the very talented Elnur Abduraimov was unable to box in his light welterweight (64kg) contest with Qianxun Hu and Ulugbek Khakberdiev suffered a foot injury in the 4th round of his middleweight (75kg) bout with Mingang Zhao. With the scores now level it was left up to heavyweights (91kg) Jin Guo and Boburbek Yuldashev to decide who prevailed. Yuldashev took the initiative in the first 2 rounds before Guo managed to push the Uzbek on to the back foot to win the next 2. With both men feeling the effects of a tough fight defences became very ragged but Guo landed the cleaner blows to claim a split decision and give the Chinese team an unlikely victory and get them off to a winning start, causing an upset in the process.
A few hours later in Moscow the newly named Patriot Boxing Team faced the Astana Arlans.
At light flyweight (49kg) Bator Sagaluev got the home side off to the ideal start by out-pointing Temirtas Zhussupov. Sagaluev was on the front foot early on and although the visitor attempted to turn the tables he was countered well with left hands and after 3 rounds Zhussupov had a mountain to climb. Despite a late rally from the Kazak Sagaluev held on to take the spoils via split decision in a solid and competitive fight. The Arlans hit back immediately with bantamweight (56kg) Ilyas Suleimenov simply out-hustling Artem Khotenov over the 5 rounds. The Russian started well behind the jab but the Kazak soon found his way inside and landed some solid body shots in round 2. Things became rather messy but with Khotenov unable to create enough distance it was Suleimenov’s kind of fight and a dominant final stanza sealed the unanimous point’s victory for the away man.
At light welterweight (64kg) Radnir Abdurakhmanov prevailed via split decision in an extremely close affair against Dilmurat Mizhitov. Abdurakhmanov began impressively landing some hurtful looking blows to the mid-section before Mizhitov picked off his opponent from range with some crisp shots. As both men began to feel the pace the action became quite untidy but with it all to play going in to the final round Abdurakhmanov’s greater work rate was enough to impress the judges and put the Patriots 2-1 up. In a must win bout at middleweight (75kg) Abilkhan Amankul levelled things up for the Arlans by defeating Radzhab Radzhabov. Amankul was in complete control for the first 6 minutes and looked a level above his Russian foe. Radzhabov turned up the aggression but Amankul remained calm and composed and a standing 8 count in round 4 really put the bout beyond doubt. Radzhabov did well to survive the 5th round as the Kazak youngster landed some classy combinations in a highly impressive performance.
Like the earlier contest in the Asian group it was left to the heavyweights (91kg) to decide things as Ilia Kvasnikov took on Anton Pinchuk. Pinchuk’s greater volume and hand speed saw him jump out to an early lead before Kvasnikov won round 3 to make things interesting. Unfortunately for the Russian he was unable to build on that success and Pinchuk won the next 2 rounds to take a unanimous decision and give the Astana Arlans a hard-fought 3-2 away win and get their WSB campaign up and running.
It was a case of the good, the bad and the ugly for boxing over the past couple of weeks. The good was very good. The two major shows at the weekend were great examples of everything that was good in boxing. The Indio show had a great bell to bell scrap between Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman. Both fighters gave everything they had for three minutes of every round. Some of Miura’s headwork was a bit questionable but you could not question his guts. Once Roman had got over his usual slow start he was hardly ever out of Miura’s face and they served up a great fight. Miguel Berchelt was a revelation against Vargas. He could not match the skills of Vargas but he looked huge at the weight and you have to wonder how a very ordinary Luis Eduardo Florez could have demolished him in just 90 seconds. Vargas showed courage beyond the call of duty but Berchelt was the star.
The Las Vegas show was topped by a fight that provided everything you could want from a fight. For much of the time it was a tense technical battle between two true professionals and even when they cut loose on each other it was still work of the highest quality. But just as important it was a fight between two fighters who had nothing but the highest respect for each other. The referee could have stayed in the casino and played the machines as he rarely had to break the fighters and never had to issued a warning and to top it all in a fight that could have been called either way the one who lost the decision accepted the loss and they both said let’s do it again.
The Mikey Garcia vs. Dejan Zlaticanin fight never reached the heights but you will rarely see two better punches than the short inside uppercut and the thunderous right cross with which Garcia flattened the gutsy little Montenegrin.
If there was a downside it was the stupidity of Vargas going in to the fight against Berchelt still showing scar tissue over his left eye from the cut he suffered in his drawn title fight with Orlando Salido in June. It was inevitable it would open and the wound was deep. Stupid. It might have suited his management and the promoter for him to fight with that handicap but it was not in Vargas best interests. It was also dumb to put him in three very hard fights in a row-Miura, Salido and then Berchelt. That’s how to shorten a guy’s career.
The bad was yet another heavyweight and yet another proposed opponent for Deontay Wilder testing positive for a banned substance. First it was Alex Povetkin now Andrzej Wawrzyk. Now Gerald Washing is Wilder’s opponent for 25 February which means he will have less than a month to prepare. Please Mr Washington don’t even take an aspirin between now and fight time. Washington has followed the Wilder approach to opposition quality. In his last three fights he has drawn with 43-year-old Amir Mansour, defeated beefed-up cruiserweight Eddie Chambers and then beaten 46-year-old Ray Austin. Thank goodness for Anthony Joshua vs. Wlad Klitschko. I don’t care if Klitschko is 41 at least he has been preparing for the fight for 17 months! For me that is the biggest heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko.
If there is any good news in there it is that the WBA have said they will join the WBC drugs free programme so that could be another step in the right direction. I guess the IBF and WBO don’t think there is a drugs problem.
The ugly is the ongoing talk of a fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor. Mayweather has said that if the fight was to come off he would expect to get $100 million and McGregor $15 million so that hopefully should put an end to that. McGregor is under contract to the UFC and It is not certain that they would allow McGregor to fight Mayweather but you can be sure some boxing commission somewhere would. Get it off the table; it is nothing to do with boxing.
It was a week of now you see it-now you don’t. Jonathan Barros was not allowed to fight Lee Selby when he tested positive for Hepatitis C in Las Vegas and the fight was rightly cancelled. However a test conducted the following day showed negative for Hepatitis C and it now seems the fight with Selby will go ahead but in Britain in March. It was also alleged that Danish boxer Micki Nielson gave a positive test for a banned substance for his fight with Johnny Muller in South Africa. Doubt was cast on this allegation as the results were not reported until more than six months after the fight and also after Nielson had fought in South Africa again in October. That report seems to have faded away. Now we have Alex Povetkin’s people questioning the “positive” test that led to the cancellation of his fight with Bermane Stiverne saying that an independent laboratory had subsequently cleared him. It should be mandatory for any title fight that the test results produced by WADA or any other mutually agreed body are accepted without recourse. Right now there seems to be more loopholes than in the sweaters my Aunt used to knit.
Saturday against Renold Quinlan for the vacant IBO super middle title will be an important test for Chris Eubank Jr. A win is obviously a must but just as important is that the show will be PPV on a terrestrial channel. In the past SKY and BoxNation have competed with each other for PPV viewers so this will be an important test of the popularity of boxing and of Eubank Jr. The undercard has good fights with Kid Galahad vs. Joseph Agbeko; Andrew Selby vs. Ardin Diale, David Price vs. Christian Hammer and a testy domestic middleweight title fight between Adam Etches and John Ryder but Quinlan is relatively unknown and may not have been the best choice to ensure good ratings. Everyone involved in British boxing-and other terrestrial channels-will be waiting to see how the PPV figures go.
Good to see a champion who is willing to go into the other man’s backyard to defend his title. Jorge Linares is making a habit, and a good living, out of it. He puts his WBA lightweight title on the line in a return fight with Anthony Crolla on 25 March again in Manchester. That will be the third fight in Britain for Linares and it illustrates the financial muscle in British promoting which gets their fighters important home advantage in title challenges.
Both Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford have had dates confirmed for their next fight. Lomachenko will face Jason Sosa on 8 April in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Oxon Hill is what is known as a census-designated place of just 6.6sq miles (no I had never heard of it either and yes it is named after Oxford in England). Looks as though the WBA are up to their usual tricks. Their current list of champions and their latest ratings list Jezreel Corrales as their super super featherweight champion but if that is so then he is only the secondary champion it can’t be a unifier against Lomachenko. Ah but this is the WBA so Sosa will become the super super featherweight champion and Corrales will be upgraded to super super super featherweight champion-or something like that. Crawford has another home fixture as he fights in Omaha on 20 May with his WBA and WBO titles on the line. No opponent named yet but suggestion is his WBC No 1 challenger Antonio Orozco.
Other WBA business has seen them order a return between Jamie McDonnell and Liborio Solis. McDonnell retained his secondary bantam title with a unanimous decision over Sosa in December. Something the WBA have not done is to follow their own publicised decisions. When they upgraded Keith Thurman to super champion at welterweight in November they declared that David Avanesyan was promoted from interim champion to secondary champion but as yet they have not kept that promise. Oh and by the way guys at the WBA Rau’shee Warren would appreciate it if you could actually give him the belt he won last June. It would be nice if he could have it before he defends the title against Zhanat Zhakiyanov on 10 February.
British fans will not get the domestic fight they want as negotiations for a Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan fight have broken down. It now seems likely that Brook will be under orders to defend against his No 1Errol Spence which will be every bit as good a fight as Brook vs. Khan but it is yet a great British fight that will slip away.
Mayweather vs. McGregor is not the only fight that should not take place. Former WBO super bantam and featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez was handed a hefty ban after exchanging punches in the ring with Albert Rivera the trainer of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr after he had knocked out Vazquez last October. Now Lopez and Rivera have signed up to fight each other and if the Puerto Rican Commission approves it they should be ashamed.
There will be an interesting mix of nationalities on the show in Casablanca, Morocco on 18 February. The principle match will be the professional debut of local welterweight Mohammed Rabii who won a gold medal at the 2015 World Championships and a bronze at the 2016 Olympics. Also on the card South African Simphiwe Vetyeka, a former WBA feather and IBO super bantam and feather champion, has his first fight for ten months, former interim WBA cruiser champion Youri Kayembre Kalenga from the DRC has his first fight since losing to Yunier Dorticos for the interim title in May last year and also featured will be Dutch Gevorg Khatchikian who is 24-2 with his losses being against James de Gale and Gilberto Ramirez.
A top class cruiser match will see former WBO champion Marco Huck and Mairis Briedis clash in Dortmund on 1 April for the interim WBC title. Briedis is No 1 and Huck No 2 in the WBC ratings. The interim title fight comes about because of Tony Bellew’s choosing to fight David Haye (and the sanctioning fee will come in handy) and if Bellew returns to cruiser after the Haye fight then the WBC has said that he must fight the winner of the Huck vs. Briedis or the winner of the interim title fight will be elevated to champion.
Still on Germany Tyron Zeuge will put his WBA super middle title on the line against Nigerian Isaac Ekpo on 18 March in Potsdam. It will be the first defence for Zeuge of the title he won with a twelfth round kayo of Italian Giovanni De Carolis in November. Ekpo lost a wide points decision against Robert Stieglitz for the WBO title in 2013 but since then has spent his time beating mediocre African fighters but has still somehow climbed to No 3 in the WBA ratings. Ekpo is a very awkward opponent and it will be difficult for Zeuge to look good against him.
Stieglitz has a tough test coming up when he defends his European light heavyweight title against Erik Skoglund. That fight is still in the negotiation phase so Stieglitz will defend his European title against Nikola Sjekloca on 18 March in Leipzig. Another good European title fight will see former interim WBA middleweight champion Dmitry Chudinov and Mariano Hilario contest the vacant super middle title. Purse offers for that close on 20 February. Three of Ghana’s top fighters are scheduled to fight in Accra on 11 March. Richard Commey, Frederic Lawson and Duke Micah are all scheduled to face TBA with Commey and Micah challenging for vacant WBC International titles at lightweight and bantamweight respectively.
Good to see that Xolisani Ndongeni landed the Fighter of the Year award at the South African awards ceremony. The IBO lightweight champion had tough competition in Zolani Tete and Simpiwe Konkco. He is certainly one to watch and 2017 may be his breakout year. Fight of the Year went to Hekkie Budler vs. Konkco for their WBA/IBO minimum title fight in September 2015. It was the first time the awards had been held for a number of years but not everyone was happy that the BSA decided that an exhibition match between a couple of actors was suitable entertainment. I went to a charity dinner in Dundee in December and the entertainment was a noticeably overweight fan dancer (honest). I can get her phone number if the BSA want her for next year.
Budler will be in action on Saturday in Johannesburg when he fights Filipino Joey Canoy for the vacant IBO light flyweight title and Kevin Lerena faces Namibian Vikapita Meroro at cruiser. A third fight will be the light heavyweight scrap between Ryno Liebenberg and German Enrico Koelling. When they fought in Germany in October Koelling won on a split decision. Liebenberg wants revenge but with four losses against world class opposition in his last five fights he needs to win this one to keep his career hopes alive.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.