Earlier today we were informed that WBA Asia Bantamweight champion Jun Zhao (13-2-1, 10) [赵君] would be making his next defense on March 13th in Liaoning Province, China. We were also informed that the man he will be defending the title against is Japanese and OPBF ranked puncher Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) [千葉開], in what looks like a brilliant match up at this level.
For the 27 year old Zhao we believe this will be his second defense of the title, and will see him continue a solid level of activity, with Zhao looking to fit in a fourth fight since last May. Although not a big name, yet, Zhao is making waves and has scored solid wins over the likes of Zafar Papiev, Sonin Nihei and Jay Francis Buray in the last 2 years.
Whilst not a major name, Zhao is someone who will be looking to make a big break through in 2020 and we wouldn't be surprised by him climbing rapidly up the WBA rankings. He's currently in the lower end of the top 15, but is clearly expected to make the most of his WBA title to climb up the rankings.
As for Chiba the 26 year old, who turns 27 in March, was once regarded as a very bright hopeful in Japan. In 2017 he scored back to back wins over Ikuro Sadatsune and Ryo Matsubara, and seemed on the verge of a big break out in 2018 before being stopped by Filipino Brian Lobetania. Since that loss China has rebuilt with 5 wins. including two on the road, and has got his career back on track thanks to a solid win over Matcha Nakagawa.
Despite having fought twice on the road this will be Chiba's Chinese debut, and will also be his first title bout. A win here will give his career a shot in the arm, and help put him in the mix for bigger and better fights.
At the moment no other details of the card have been sent to us, but this is still a very solid regional level bout, and one we anticipate being very explosive.
Yesterday in China fight fans had a small but notable card in Diaobingshan.
The main event of this card was an solid looking match up between Chinese local Jun Zhao (12-2-1, 9) [赵君] and Japanese visitor Sonin Nihei (9-5-2, 1) [仁平 宗忍]. It didn't scream amazing bout on paper, but the styles of the two always made it seem likely that the bout would be action packed and exciting. And it delivered!
After a relatively quiet feeling out round the two men really began to go through the gears by the end of round 2 they were trading on the inside in a pulsating war. Nihei was the one coming inside, getting close and working the higher tempo. Zhao was being dragged into Nihei's fight, though tried to create space. It was space that Zhao needed, being the bigger puncher he was struggling to work up close and was having his power smothered, time and time again by the visitor.
Nihei's effort and pressure did catch the eye, a lot, but it came at a cost and in the later rounds his pace did slow slightly and his energy became an issue. As his energy faded it allowed Zhao the space he needed to work and get full extension on his shots. With a tiring Nihei on the ropes and Zhao having space to work with the Chinese fighter turned on the heat and forced Nihei to be save with the referee and Nihei's corner jumping in to stop the punishment.
In the chief support bout Mongolian hopeful Erkhembayar Batbayar (6-0, 4) stopped Korean Middleweight Jun Yong Lee (6-6-4, 3) in the 7th of a scheduled 10 rounds. This was the first time Batbayar had actually fought at Middleweight having fought as high as Cruiserweight, and it did seem like the 160lb weight class was more suited to him. It's rare to talk about a Mongolian fighter, but Batbayar is certainly worthy of some attention with his aggression and power.
Tomorrow in China fight fans will see hard hitting local hopeful Jun Zhao (11-2-1, 8) [赵君] battle against under-rated Japanese fighter Sonin Nihei (9-4-2, 1) [仁平 宗忍] in Diaobingshan.
The bout, which will see the two men battle for the the WBA Asia Bantamweight title, had it's weigh in earlier today and both men comfortably made the 118lb limit.
The Chinese fighter came in at 117.75lbs and looked good on the scales, though looked somewhat nervous at times.
Nihei was slightly lighter, weighing in at 117.5lbs, and whilst he looked more confident he also looked just a touch fleshy for what is his second bout outside of Japan.
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