It's fair to say that 2019 was a monster year for Chinese fighter Can Xu (18-2, 3) [徐灿], the current WBA Featherweight champion. The hope is, of course, for him to have a massive 2020 as well.
Earlier this week it was reported that Xu and his team have had to change plans, in at least 2 different ways.
Firstly he and the M23 team had planned to train under Filipino coaches. The coaches returned home for the Chinese new year but due the escalating outbreak of Coronavirus they were unable to re-enter China. The Chinese fighters had then planned to go to the Philippines to train with the same coaches, however a travel ban by the Philippines prevented that from happening.
Instead of staying in China to train the team, or rather those with passports, have changed their plans and are now training in Thailand. Those that did travel included not only Xu but also Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (16-3-1, 6) [拜山波] and recent world title challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-4-1, 6) [乌兰].
It's not only been the training plans that have had to change but also plans regarding Xu's next title defense. It appears the original plan had been for a defense in China in April, however issues with Coronavirus appear to have ended that plan.
It's now unclear whether Xu will reschedule a bout in China for his next defense or will head back over to the US for it, with the bout said to be dependent on the development of the epidemic in China.
Given that there are various travels bans, it appears that Xu will be in Thailand until later in the month, waiting out a 14 day window. It then seems like the plans is form him to head off to the US to train in Miami, under Pedro Diaz, to further prepare for his next defense, when and where that takes place.
(Image courtesy of www.mppboxing.com/)
It's fair to say that 2019 has been a huge year for Chinese "Monster" Can Xu (17-2, 3) [徐灿], who won the WBA "regular" Featherweight title in an upset in the US against Jesus M Rojas in January and then notched his first defense in May.
Now, according to Chinese sources, his next bout is close to being finalised and will see him return Stateside to defend his title.
Technically Xu has until November 25th to defend the title but the plan is to have him out on October 26th in Las Vegas, as part of a card headlined by Saul Alvarez. Of course Alvarez is yet to have his bout confirmed holding up the plans for Xu and the announcement of his opponent.
The original plan was for Xu to defend in September, though of his team stated that wasn't a big enough break to prepare following the bout in May, especially given the need to apply for a visa.
Xu's promoter Liu has gone to the US this week to try and finalise the details of the bout and an 8 week training camp for Xu, some of which will be with Pedro Diaz.
Gang is also said to be trying to secure a place on the card for Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-3-1, 6) [拜山波], who was last seen getting stopped by Yusuke Konno (15-4, 8) [今野裕介] in March.
More details are expected to be confirmed by Gang on the coming days.
Over the last 12 months or so things have really began to change in Chinese boxing. The Major League Boxing cards have become less a fixture and instead we've been having more and more good, solid, all round cards with tough match ups between locals and visitors.
Today we got one such card with a China Vs Japan theme, that ended with two amazing bouts to close the show.
The first of those saw world ranked local Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3-1, 5) record a narrow win over highly regarded Japanese prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-1, 4) [山内涼太] in what may end up being one of the best bouts on Chinese soil in the entire of 2019. The bout was thrilling from the off, and got even more explosive when Tuolehazi dropped Yamauchi in round 3 with a huge right hand. The power of Tuolehazi seemed to shake Yamauchi again later in the round as the Chinese fighter, who had started well, needed to show a lot more respect to the Chinese fighter.
Yamauchi would himself score a knockdown, from a gorgeous left hook to the body, later in the right and it seemed like he had done enough to just edge a razor thin decision after 12 rounds. The judges however gave it to the local, in what appeared to have been a split decision, given the crowd reactions to the scores as they were read out. Despite the loss Yamauchi showed a lot here to like, whilst Tuolehazi scored his 6th straight win, and extended his current unbeaten run to 10, including other notable wins over Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym and Jayr Rquinel. The win nets Tuolehazi a WBA regional title at Flyweight.
The second bout went Japan's way, as the often over-looked Yusuke Konno (15-4, 8) [今野裕介] surprisingly stopped Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-3-1, 6) [拜山波] in the 11th round. Konno managed to make his power pay early on, dropping Baishanbo in the opening round, but the Chinese fighter fought back well, and was likely in the lead as we entered the championship rounds. The good effort from Baishanbo always came with a risk and in round 11 he was dropped, hard, by a Konno right hand. The Chinese fight would get up, but do so just after the 10 count, to give Konno a huge win.
For Baishanbo this is his first stoppage loss, but his third loss in 6 bouts. For Konno it sees him extending his current winning run to 4 fights and claim the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title.
Earlier today the Kadoebi Gym took to twitter to announce 2 international bouts that their fighters would be involved in on March 30th in Shanghai, China. And if we're being honest both bouts like like they could be very interesting.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) [今野裕介] take on Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] in a 12 round bout at Light Welterweight.
Coming in to that one Konno, the Kaoebi promoted fighter and the under-dog, is riding a 3 fight winning run including upset wins over Kazuya Maruki and Vladimir Baez. Baishanbo on the other hand is entering the contest on the back of his technical decision win against Venezuelan Ernesto Espana. The bout will see Baishanbo risking his WBA International title, and his #14 WBA world ranking, a single place ahead of Uzbek Shakhram Giyasov at the time of writing.
Despite that bout being an interesting one it's the other bout that interests us more, and that will see the very highly regarded Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) [山内涼太] take on Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5), who will be risking his WBC and WBO world rankings. This Flyweight bout will also be over 12 rounds, and according to the tweet will also be for a WBA International title which hasn't been fought for since Artem Dalakian defended it in August 2013.
For those unaware Yamauchi is one of the best prospects in Japan and is a 24 year old with insane talent, who already holds wins over Lester Abutan and Yota Hori. This is however a huge step up in class for the fantastic boxer-puncher. Tuolehazi on the other hand is a world ranked Chinese fighter with wins over Kwanthai Sithmorseng and OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel. He's a cruder fighter, but more proven at this point than the Japanese prospect.
It should be noted that there is at least one other notable bout expected to be announced for this card in the coming days, and could be bigger than both of these contests.
Below- The tweet from Kadoebi confirming these two bouts.
After some fisticuffs at yesterday's weigh in we were looking forward to some fireworks in China as Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] took on Venezuelan puncher Ernesto Espana (26-2-1, 21) in a bout for the WBC International Light Welterweight title.
Those fireworks came early and the massive looking Espana made the most of his size and power edge in the opening minute, dropping Baishanbo with a messy combination that didn't really look like it landed clean but still did damage. Baishanbo looked to regroup but Espana came forward and landed a few good combinations as Baishanbo looked to solve the issue of being so much smaller than Espana. He tried rushing in, and that resulted in a cut for Espana over the right eye. The cut passed a doctor's examination but an issue given how early in the fight it occurred. Espana was then dropped himself from a left hand as Baishanbo showed he too could punch.
Sadly the first round was pretty much it for fireworks with the rounds that followed it all being much less interesting as Baishanbo began to show a lot of respect too Espana, his power and his size. Rather than fighting his usual aggressive style Baishanbo began to box on the back foot, rely a lot on movement and essentially make Espana tire himself out by following the Chinese fighter. It was a frustrating game plan from the Chinese fighter, who was either too far out, even for Espana's reach, or was rushing in with his quicker feet.
On neutral grounds the tactics of Baishanbo wouldn't have pleased judges, they were negative and frustrating. In China however they seemed to please the judges, and kept him out of danger.
With Espana concerned about the cut and the judging he was unable to take too many risks, though was still the aggressor for the most part, and seemed like the man trying to make a fight, whilst Baishanbo tried to avoid having a fight, picking his moments instead.
Espana's cut was looked at again in round 4, with the bout allowed to continue, but it seemed clear that the cut could be an issue down the line. Baishanbo did his best to make the cut more of an issue, targeting his left hook, and charging in with his head, causing more damage to the eye.
The damage continued to get slightly worse until the very start of round 8, when the doctor finally waved the bout off. Although the cut had worsened it hadn't become a massive problem for Espana, in fact his biggest issue was that at 37 he lacked the energy to chase Baishanbo. Despite that the doctor deemed it bad enough to stop the bout.
The judges cards all favoured Baishanbo, who took the technical decision, though probably wouldn't have got it outside of his homeland and we suspect he'll be relieved by the win and the fact he has escaped the "Kraken", as Espana is known.
Baishanbo seemed to feel Espana's power in the first round and wanted little to do with it afterwards. For Espana this will be a disappointing loss, and at the age of 37 it's hard to see where he goes from here, especially given his freakish dimensions, power and the sense of danger he brings to the ring.
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