The action this coming week is slightly down in quality from some recent weeks, with a lot of action taking place at Rookie of the Year level in Japan and other lower level action. Thankfully though there are some bouts that have caught our attention, including one in China this coming Wednesday that should be a very interesting test for a rising Chinese hopeful. It's with that in mind that we've selected this week's "One to Watch"
The One to Watch?
ZongLi He (5-0, 1) vs Hamson Lamandau (10-3-1, 7)
September 11th (Wednesday)
The bout is the headline fight of a card in Xi An, China and will be a regional title fight with both men looking to shoot themselves up the rankings and prove what they have in the tank. For He it's a chance to get chin checked, whilst also potentially picking up his second stoppage win after a 4 straight decisions. For Lamandau it's a chance to claim his first win on the road, and begin to get his career back on track after going 2-3-1 in his last 6. Both men will be going in to this with the intent of picking up a win, and looking good in the process.
It's rare to see Chinese prospects catching the attention at an early stage in their career's, however ZongLi He has done just that thanks to notable wins over Diarh Gabutan and Vincent Astrolabio. Those wins have boosted him into the Boxrec top 100, at the time of writing, after just 5 fights. He's not blown away Gabutan or Astrolabio but has taken wins over both and has proven he can do 10 rounds.
Indonesian fighter Lamandau showed some early promise, starting his career 8-0, but has been matched hard since then and lost by stoppage to Hinata Maruta, Brock Jarvis and Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. His career has faltered big time, but this is certainly a chance for him to pick up a win on the road, and score his best win to date.
What to expect?
Footage of He show's him to be boxer who likes fighting off the back foot, he moves, a lot, and although he looks negative a lot he's a smart fighter with quick hands, a good tank and a bit luck on his side. His two big wins do have some question marks over them in terms of scoring, but they were bouts that were perhaps too much too soon for him too look good in. He showed something to like in both but left a lot of questions, questions we want to see him answering. We want to see more from him offensively, and see more of what he can do when he's not on the back foot against someone with more power and experience.
Lamandau has been under-sized in his losses. He's been beaten by much bigger men than himself in all 3 defeats and here we see him in with someone of a similar size to himself. We also see him taking on someone who lacks power. Given all 3 of Lamaandau's losses have been by stoppage it's interesting to see him in with a non-puncher here. In the ring he's an aggressive little bull and if well matched he should make for some very fan friendly bouts.
With Lamandau coming forward and He boxing off the back foot the styles should gel excellently and should make for some very exciting action, in what looks to be a true hidden gem for the week.
The bad news?
The bout is going to be a hard one to find, with Chinese streams being a bit hit and miss at times. The card is also a pretty low key one over all and whilst this is a bout worth making a note of it's not likely to be worth the time spent watch the whole card. We also wouldn't be surprised by some potential funny business with the score cards if this is close.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.