Last night fans around the world turned their focus on the US where Top Rank held a bumper card featuring a world title unification between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol, the coronation of a star in waiting in Oscar Valdez, the next step in the career of Oleksandr Gvozdyk and the entertaining bout between Jose Benevidez and Francisco Santana, a bout that will be remembered for one of the worst score-cards this year.
Prior to the telecast HBO stream the under-card which featured two Asian fighters.
One of those was Japan's promising Middleweight contender Ryota Murata's (11-0, 8) [村田 諒太], who took his opportunity to shine on the under-card. The 2012 Olympic champion almost broke the experienced George Tahdooahnippah (34-3-3-2, 24) in half with a body shot, before a follow up barage of right hands forced the referee to stop the out classed "Comanche Boy". Although limited this was viewed by many as a step up for Murata, who was expected to win, but take a while to do so. Instead he dominated from the off and got the job done within 2 minutes.
After the bout Mr Honda mentioned Billy Joe Saunders' name as a possible target for Murata, however if negotiations cannot be sorted quickly the focus will be on getting Murata back out in November.
The other Asian wass former world title challenger Ik Yang (19-2-0-1, 14) [杨连慧] who looked genuinely dreadful before being stopped in the 6th round by Australian Leonardo Zappavigna (35-2, 25), who adds Yang's name to that of Ji Hoon Kim and Shuhei Tsucihya in terms of solid Asian fighters who he has stopped.
Yang had coming in looking like his usual unorthodox self but was picked off by a busier, more accurate Zappavigna who wobbled him early before turning up the heat in round 6, forcing the referee to save the "Wildman", who probably needs to consider either hiring a better trainer, or leaving the sport with a few brain cells intact. This performance from Yang was simply dreadful.
Sadly for Chinese boxing this was another high profile loss, following other notable losses for Zou Shiming, Qiu Xiao Jun, Xiong Zhao Zhong and Ma Yi Ming.
Tonight fights fans will be able to see a bumper card from the US with a host of notable fighters, and interesting bouts, two of which feature Asian fighters who took part in the weigh in for their bouts last night.
One of those fighters is Japanese star Ryota Murata's (10-0, 7) [村田 諒太], who weighed in at 161lbs for his bout with George Tahdooahnippah (34-2-3-2, 24), who was 161.5lbs. The bout is Murata's second in the US and he has stated that he aims to get a KO and impress the US audience, who were left flat by his US debut against Gunnar Jackson. For Tahdooanippah the bout is a chance to score a huge win and make a serious mark on the sport after having a faltering few years, however it is a big step up for the more experienced man who is regarded as clear under-dog.
The other Asian is former world title challenger Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) [杨连慧] who battles against exciting Australian Leonardo Zappavigna (34-2, 24) . Originally this bout was set to be a world title eliminator at 140lbs however the bout was later re-set to a catchweight bout at 144lbs at Yang's request. On the scales both men were 143lbs with Zappvigna looking the better man on the scales. Despite the weigh limit being set at Yang's request he is only just the favourite and actually looked worse on the scales than the Australian.
This coming weekend is a big one with boxing fans from around the world turning their attention to Nevada where their will be a number of fantastic match ups. One of those will see Chinese "Wildman" Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) [杨连慧] battle against exciting Australian Leonardo Zappavigna (34-2, 24) in an IBF world title eliminator. On paper this is perhaps not the most eye opening bout on the card but it is a bout that has seemingly got a more 50-50 feel to it than any other on n the show, making it a great opportunity for gamblers, or those just wanting to place a small bet on a bout to make it even more interesting.
At the moment, just hours before the weigh in, Yang is the favourite, but only just. The Chinese fighter is priced at a very tasty looking 4/5 in certain UK bookies, whilst others have him at 4/6. The price is a great one for those thinking he'll win.
For those thinking Zappavigna will come out on top the Aussie battler is available at 11/8, though most have him priced at 6/5. Again the price is incredibly tasty given many other bouts on the card have a very prohibitive favourite.
Sadly we've not been able to find odds on the "Method of Victory" market though bet365 have got the bout set at an over/under of 9.5 rounds. The over has been priced at 8/15 whilst the under is 11/8, so those expecting a stoppage may find this market particularly interesting.
Tomorrow fans in Japan and in Hong Kong will get the chance to see 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata's (9-0, 6) [村田 諒太] battle against against once beaten Brazilian puncher Felipe Santos Pedroso (13-1, 11).
On Friday, ahead of that bout, the two men weighed in for the contest. On the scales Murata was around 161lbs, notably heavier than Pedroso who was under 159lbs for the bout.
If Murata, as is widely expected, scores a win tomorrow it's now known that he will indeed be part of the July 23rd card in the US, a card headlined by Terence Crawford Vs Viktor Postol in a 140lb unification title unification bout. If Murata wins tomorrow he will be facing George Tahdooahnippah (34-2-3, 24) on that card in Las Vegas.
Staying on that Las Vegas card, it will also feature Chinese fighter Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) [杨连慧], who will be up against Leonardo Zappavigna (34-2, 24) in a possible FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxingbnews.jp)
According to sources in the Philippines China's Ik Yang (19-1-0-1, 14) [杨连慧] will be back in action on April 23rd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon city, if he can recover from an ankle injury in time.
The exciting Chinese fighter is pencilled into the share the card with Nonito Donaire, who is set to defend his WBO Super Bantamweight title on the show.
For Yang the bout is his first since he lost, last year to Rene Cesar Cuenca, in an IBF title fight. He was supposed to return this weekend, against Chalermpol Singwancha (16-0, 12) [เฉลิมพล สิงห์วังชา], however an injury suffered in training by Yang saw that bout being cancelled with the hope being that the men would rearrange the bout for later in the year.
Prior to his next bout Yang is expected to spar with Manny Pacquiao, ahead of Pacquiao's rubber match with American Timothy Bradley on April 9th.
(Image courtesy sports.cn)
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