For a third successive day Asian fans get notable title action, though this time it's Chinese fans getting in on the fun as former world champion Xiong Zhao Zhong (25-6-1, 14) takes on popular Filipino journeyman Crison Omayao (17-9-3, 5), a man who has frequented Japanese rings in recent years to test their best prospects. Two men meet for the OPBF Minimumweight title and really do look likely to engage in an intriguing contest.
Of the two fighters it's the 32 year old Zhong who is, by far, the better known man. He's a fighter who has been much maligned by fight fans but yet is also a holder of a very special place in history. Of course he's a man viewed by some as a fighter who was given preferential treatment by the WBC, who wanted to crown China's first champion and move towards growing the sport on the Chinese mainland. On the other hand he is the first, and so far only, world champion from China.
Whilst many fans want to play down Zhong and his achievements it's hard to ignore his place in history as well as his role as a genuine contender in the 105lb division.
As a fighter Zhong is rather crude but yet strong as a bull, tough and shows that Chinese mentality that has been missing from Zou Shiming. Zhong, for all his flaws, has bull-like strength, is aggressive and capable of mixing with top quality opponents. In fact for many his break out performance was a loss to then WBC Flyweight champion Daisuke Naito back in 2009, though he has also held his own with the likes of Takuya Kogawa, Shin Ono and Hekkie Budler.
Although bull-like Zhong isn't the strongest fighter out there and his February 2014 loss to Oswaldo Novoa does stand out as a bout that saw Zhong looking like a boy against a man. That however now looks like it was simply a mistake by Zhong's team to take on a man who was bigger, stronger and simply powerful for the diminutive Chinese warrior.
Whilst Zhong is well known for his bouts, including a win over Denver Cuello, it's fair to say that Omayao is also relative well known. The Filipino 22 year old, known as “D'Cowboy”, has been a popular test for fast rising Japanese prospects. In 2012 he was in the ring with a then debuting Naoya Inoue, in 2014 he faced Kosei Tanaka and Genki Hanai. As well as that trio he has also been in the ring with Thai's such as Wanheng Menayothin, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and Nawaphon Por Chokchai.
Although better known for his losses than his wins the Filipino is certainly no push over. His bout with Wanheng was competitive, he's upset the likes of Jonathan Refugio and held recent world title challenger Jerry Tomogdan to a draw earlier this year. We won't pretend he's a world champion in the making but he is much better than his record suggests, and is far better than a typical fighter with a 1-6-2 (1) record in his last 9. Unfortunately though he has been matched very hard.
Stylistically Omayao is a solid fighter who could, genuinely, have become a contender had his team developed him properly. He's got guts, determination and solid ability. Sadly though he does lack power, as most young fighters do, and has taken more damage than 22 year old really should. He's quick enough and well schooled enough to give some fighters a real test, as he surprisingly did with Hanai.
Looking towards this match it appears we have a boxer against a pressure fighter. Omayao will be looking to use his legs and his movement to land and get to safety whilst Zhong will be looking to try and get close. Stylistically it's a good clash though unfortunately for Omayao the difference in levels is likely to be seen with Zhong being more proven, being at home and having more in the locker. We don't expect Zhong to have things all his own way but he'll likely take a clear decision all the same.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.