Over the years boxing has thrown some real odd bouts our way. Today we got another, than can only be described as "weird".
In the main event of a card at the Manila Arena, America-Cambodian Eric Pen (6-0, 5) faced off with Indonesian Alexander Bajawa (43-11-4, 16), in a defense of the WBA Asia Heavyweight title by Pen. On paper that might not be anything worth talking too much about, but that doesn't tell the story of the weird and wacky world of boxing that we live in.
Pen, a 27 year old, was born in California back in 1992. He made his pro boxing debut in Thailand, in 2018, and raced away to to the WBA Asia Heavyweight title in 2019, in his third professional bout. Since turning professional he has been a boneafide Heavyweight, in a region of the world where many are blown up Middleweights, and over-weight looking fighters, who would struggle to get licensed in some places in the world. Due to a lack of depth however we have a huge number of out of shape fighters making up the majority of the Asian Heavyweight scene.
Bajawa is one of those blown up, out of shape fighters. The 37 year began his career no higher than Bantamweight, and there's a chance he was even lighter in some fights. In the 20 years since he has climbed up the weights and climbed up and climbed up the weights. In fact he had some genuine success early on, going unbeaten in 38 bouts, and claimed a couple of regional titles at Featherweight whilst going 36-0-2. Since then however he has moved from Featherweight to all the way up to Heavyweight, whilst getting more and more rotund. In fact his last bout, at Super Middleweight, saw him looking fat, but to to fight as a Heavyweight today, just a few weeks later, he looked in really bad physical shape.
With a Heavyweight taking on an over-weight, ancient fighter the result here was never in any doubt. Bajawa was stopped , due to what appeared to be an injury to his left arm in round 2. Prior to that he had looked wild, swinging some shots that were telegraphed from last week, with those wild shots likely the reason he injured himself.
Sadly for Bajawa he will keep getting work, and keep having a reason to get into the ring out of shape. As for Pen this was a farce of a title defense, and fingers crossed more suitable challengers will face him in coming bouts.
From a mental perspective though, "Former Indonesian Bantamweight gets injured in an Asian Heavyweight title fight", is rather an odd phrase we don't think we'll be saying too many times.
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