After more than a year out of the ring we had the chance to see unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (21-0, 16) [张志磊] make his European debut, as he battled late replacement Andriy Rudenko (32-5, 20), from Ukraine, in Monaco.
On paper this was a bout that didn't really get the juices flowing, but did get the mind thinking. What was Zhang going to be like after such a long lay off? Could Rudenko be getting over-looked? Would Zhang be wanting to put on a show for the fans?
From the first round it was clear that Zhang wasn't suffering from any form of ring rust, and although took the fight at short notice he was there to win, but was struggling with the size and speed of Zhang.
Sadly though the Chinese fighter seemed to stutter between second and third through out the fight. He showed flashes of brilliance, but they were merely a combination here, or a counter there, rather than anything sustained. He lacked any sense of urgency or intensity and was instead happy to just cruise. Rudenko on the other hand came to fight, he pressed, he threw, he missed and he pressed more.
To his credit Rudenko was there to win through out, and despite being hurt and staggered a number of times he recovered swiftly, helped in part by Zhang not moving through the gears.
After 10 rounds there was no arguing with who won, though Rudenko certainly did enough to claim a few rounds and the scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 were all pretty spot on, but there was a feeling that Zhang could, and should, have done so much more.
With the win Zhang is back, but he needs 2 or 3 more fights to find out if he has that intensity inside him, before chasing a world title fight. Talent wise he's very, very, good, but the lack of fire and work rate here were massively disappointing for a man who was being given a huge opportunity.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
QINGDAO,CHINA- Yongqiang Yang of China decked JR Magboo with a hard body shot and the Filipino heard the full count of ten from Referee Danrex Tapdasan in the second round.
Yang (13-0,10KO’s) remained unbeaten and was handed the WBO Global Lightweight title. He could be in the world title picture next year.
Magboo drops to 18-4-2,9KO’s. Yang has previously beaten Filipinos Harmonito dela Torre and Ernie Sanchez. Yang’s second round knockout win against Dela Torre was on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse WBA welterweight title fight held in Malaysia.
This fight served as the main event of a six bout card held at the TSSG Center.
Top Chinese prospect Lei Wang (5-0,2KO’s) won the vacant WBO Greater China junior welterweight title in a hard fought match against Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (10-2-1,5KO’s).
Paniamogan was staggered on several occasions but managed to recuperate and fire hard shots of his own. Rounds three and four were highlighted by exciting back and forth action. But Paniamogan slowed down in the endgame and could not capitalize when Wang was also tiring.
The scores – Edward Ligas (Philippines) – 78-74, Michelle Ng (Macao) – 79-73, Danrex Tapdasan (Philippines)- 79-73. The referee was Mark Leong from Macao.
Three of Wang’s previous four wins were against Filipinos Anthony Sabalde, Ricky Sismundo and Bryan Macamay.
The WBO bouts were supervised by WBO Asia Pacific VP Leon Panoncillo.
For the undercards - Avzalbek Kuranbaev (Tajikistan) stopped Wellem Reyk (Indonesia) in two rounds, Xia Lingjie (China) beat Arnel Baconaje (Philippines) by unanimous verdict after eight rounds, Mou Xialu (China) got a second round TKO win against Brian Lobetania (Philippines) and in the opener, Dilixiati Simayi (China) and Su Pajie (China) fought to a four round draw.
PHOTO – Yang Yongqiang wins in Qingdao
On December 2nd Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (14-0, 11) [浩樹井上] will face off with hard hitting Filipino Jheritz Chavez (9-3-2, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title.
Originally it was unclear whether the bout would receive any TV exposure, with some notable Phoenix Battle shows lacking TV coverage recently.
Today we were informed that Fuji TV would be airing the bout, albeit on tape delay, next weekend.
The bout will be broadcast as part of a Phoenix Battle broadcast On December 7th starting at 3:20 am, with a 1 hour time slot set aside for the show.
Not only will the broadcast air the fight, along with selected highlights from the rest of the show, but it will also give us some more details in regards to the upcoming WBA "regular" Middleweight title bout between Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] and Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), with some training footage expected to be shown.
Related - Koki Inoue takes on Jhertiz Chavez for regional title!
On December 10th OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (8-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] will make his next defense, as he takes on 23 year old challenger Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-1, 7) [木村吉光]. Today we can confirm that that bout is set to be shown on TV, albeit on tape delay, as part of TBS's "Guts Fighting" series of shows.
For Mishiro the bout will be his 4th defense and promotional company Watanabe Gym seem to view his rise as something worthy of serious attention. They have already pushed him on to the fast track to the top, and he won the title in just his 6th professional bout, taking a decision over Carlo Magali. Although he failed to unify the title with the Japanese belt, fighting to a draw in 2018 with Masaru Sueyoshi, it's clear that his team have big plans for him, and likely see him as their successor to former WBA world champion Takashi Uchiyama. Since winning the belt not only has Mishiro retained it, with the draw, against Sueyoshi but also scored notable wins over Takuya Watanabe and Ryo Takenaka.
As for Kimura this will be a second shot a belt for him, following a competitive loss to Richard Pumicpic for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. Since that loss Kimura has moved up in weight and has built some momentum coming in to this bout.
The bout will be aired aired just days later, with the broadcast also expected to help promote the New Year's Eve card which TBS will be showing live.
At the moment it's unclear whether TBS will also air some form of footage of the very interesting chief support bout between Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡優大] and OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8).
(Image - TBS)
At the end of December Japanese fans get a treat with an incredible card feature a staggering 6 title bouts!
Today there was a small competition to get on that card, with 10 girls each trying to book their place on the show as one of the ring card girls.
Prior to today there was a screening process to a much bigger entry pool down to 10. Those 10 finalists were then whittled down to two by a panel of judges at today's event.
The event today saw the 10 posing in swimsuits for the judges, which included former world champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] and current female world champion Miyo Yoshida (13-1) [吉田 実代], who will feature on the card herself in a world title defense.
The two winners, who are both said to be boxing fans, will not only do the ring cards, but will also feature in a number of the build up events including the signing ceremony, the face and the weigh in.
Whilst the use of ring card girls have had a mixed response in the west in recent years, with some promoters doing away with them and some feminist groups complaining, events to select ring card girls do happen somewhat regularly in Japan. They usually aren't as high profile as they were for this particular show, but there isn't the same calls to ban ring girls are there are in the west.
The girls will get a huge chance to boost their modelling careers here with them appearing on a show that features Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] and Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔], as well as Yoshida, defending world titles and talented youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) [重岡銀次朗] also on the card.
(Images courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
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