This past Saturday saw the boxing world focus on Wales, where Anthony Joshua faced off with Carlos Takam, that however wasn't the only show of note, with Macau hosting a female world title fight between IBF female Minimumweight champion Zong Ju Cai (10-1, 1) and Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6).
The bout started at an exciting pace with the challenger pressing the action and the champion being forced to fight off the back foot and counter the very aggressive Abaniel. It looked like it was going to be a very tough first defense for Cai but mid way through round 2 she began to grow in confidence and make the most of her southpaw stance with raidng attacks and lovely clean punches between the messy assaults of Abaniel.
As the fight went on Abaniel's assaults began to call shorter and shorter and her output dropped, allowing Cai to dictate the pac with more ease. There was still flurry's from Abaniel, but they were less and less effective, with Cai holding when she needed to bunt the Filipino's assaults. It always seemed that whilst Abaniel was having more attacks than the champion they were much less effective than the faster, more accurate punching of the Chinese fighter, who showed good movement through out.
In the final rounds Abaniel tried to up the ante and press with more intensity, really forcing Cai backwards through out round 9, as it seemed she needed to try and turn the fight around. It broiught her more success, though she did seem to be stung by a counter of Ca's at one point in round 9 and lacked the energy, and power, needed to hurt the local favourite. The same intensity from Abaniel was seen in round 10 and caused Cai to commit a number of fouls, which almost saw her being deducted a point.
At the final bell Abaniel celebrated loudly, but it did seem like she hadn't quite done enough to dethrone the champion, despite a lot of effort in the final rounds, whilst the champion looked calmly confident of having retained her title. The view of Cai's was confirmed by the judges who scored the bout in favour of Cai with two cards of 97-93 and one of 98-92 in favour of the champion.
Although it seemed clear that Abaniel felt she had done enough she lacked the effective work needed to win over the judges, who would have been impressed by Cai's accuracate and effective work.
Yesterday in Argentina fight fans saw Japan's Yunoka Furukawa (9-2-2, 6) [古川 夢乃歌] on local star Leonela Paola Yudica (13-0-3) in a bout for the IBF Flyweight title, which Yudica was defending.
Sadly for Furukawa, the WBA Atomweight champion, the bout didn't see manage to become a 2-weight champion. Instead she came up on the losing side of pretty clear decision, despite giving the bout her all.
The challenger pressed the action from the off, always coming forward and applying pressure. Unfortunately however the speed and accuracy wasn't there from the travelling fighter, and instead of being worn down Yudica used Furukawa's aggression against her. As a result Yudica was landing her jab, and straight and rolling off to the side before Furukawa could land her bigger shots. It was a determined effort from the Japanese warrior, but one that lacked the bite needed to really trouble the Argentinian skillster.
Although Furukawa came up short here, she does remain the WBA Atomweight champion and is likely to head back down in weight going forward, where she can make the most of her marauding style and aggression.
As for Yudica the future does look promising, but we suspect she will have much tougher bouts than this. It's not that Furukawa's a bad fighter, but she was stylistically just a bit too slow and a bit too light for the champion, who is very smart and very accurate.