The Chinese boxing scene has really come alive in recent years with the emergence of the Macao scene. Sadly however that rising in activity and attention has yet to really bare much in terms of success. Earlier this year it was Zou Shiming coming up short, after he tasted the world level against Amnat Ruenroeng, and we've also seen Ma Yi Ming get blitzed by Randy Petalcorin, but today it was Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) who came up short as he was easily out-boxed by Cesar Rene Cuenca (48-0-0-2, 2) in a bout for the IBF Light Welterweight title.
Coming in to the bout Yang was the big betting favourite. He was the puncher, the younger fighter and the man at home. In the end however those advantages didn't matter as Cuenca was so much more skilled than Yang and it was clear from the first round.
From the off Cuenca was on his toes, landing sharp, but light, jabs and straights that found their way through to the target time and time again. The accuracy and consistency of Cuenca's shots, and the intelligence of his footwork was simply too much for Yang, who looked lost. Whilst the start was poor for the Chinese fighter it was made worse by the knockdown call he had against him when he stumbled, off balance, into the ropes.
Following the awful start for Yang things just got worse. Rounds 2,3 and 4 were all 1-sided with Cuenca being far too good for the Chinese fighter who struggled to land more than a handful of shots whilst being tagged frequently by the talented Argentinian veteran.
A rare moment of success for Yang was seen in round 5 when he managed to draw Cuenca into a short lived fire-fight that saw the Argentinian suffer a flash knockdown. It essentially neutralised the opening round knock-down against Yang but did little to turn around the 3 rounds that Yang had lost between the opening and the 5th. Even worse for Yang was the fact it seemed to further build Cuenca's resistance to exchanging shots.
In round 6 seemed to slowly though Yang failed to make the most of his opportunity to close the scores and by the end of the round it looked like Cuenca had re-found his rhythm. The following round saw Yang have one of his better rounds, and in fact it could have gone Yang's way, with the Chinese fighter landing more shots in the round he had in a number of others. Sadly for him it was another fleeting moment of success.
From round 8 to round 11 Cuenca did what he had been doing early on and he controlled Yang with complete ease. The Chinese fighter could do little other than plod forward looking like a fighter without a gameplan and with out any help from his team. The only thing Yang seemed to have was frustration, which was further hindering his cause as he threw some bizarre shots that were never likely to catch a guy like Cuenca.
Going into the final round Yang knew he'd need a KO and for the first time in the fight he fought as if he needed one. From the bell to start the round Yang fought like like a wild man, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Cuenca who was forced to hold on numerous times. During one of those holds Yang tossed his man to the canvas, resulting in a point deduction, though it was clear that he knew it was now or never. Sadly for Yang however it wasn't to be as the clock ran down and the bell rang to end the fight.
For Yang this loss should send him down the rankings though given his style and popularity he should be involved in some exciting bouts whilst maybe even competing in and around the OPBF level, which could make for some very interesting fights. As for Cuenca this win opens up a lot of possibly interesting match ups and despite his lack of a punch it seems clear it's going to take a very good fighter to beat him.
The search for the second Chinese world champion, sadly, continues.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.