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.
Earlier today news from Thailand broke that we would be getting two WBA Asia title fights in late February, with two men who have fought at world level.
The first of those will see Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (43-1, 31) [ถิรชัย กระทิงแดงยิม], aka Tewa Kiram, defending his WBA Asia Light Middleweight title, against South African based Congolese born Eric Kapia (22-3-2-1, 4). For Teerachai we believe this will be his 5th defense of the title, and will be his 6th bout since losing to Lucas Matthysse back in January 2018. As for Kapia this will be his first fight in Asia, and only his second bout outside of Africa. It'shis first bout since losing in Russia last March to Vaghinak Tamrazyan.
The bout above will take place on February 28th.
the other will be for the WBA Asia Flyweight title and will see Dennapa Kiatniwat (21-2, 16) [เด่นนภา ตราใบห่อ], aka Sarawut Thawornkham, battle against Filipino foe Jeny Boy Buca (13-6, 11). The Thai will be fighting for the second time since a loss last June to Artem Dalakian in a WBA Flyweight title fight. Buca on the other hand is looking to score his first win in Thailand, having lost in his only bout in the country back in 2016 when he was stopped by Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking. He is also looking to score his second successive win, following a 3 fight losing run.
The above bout will take place on February 29th.
Earlier today in Korea there was a rush for gold with a trio of WBA Asia titles on the line in Jeonju. The titles might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but for many of the fighters fighting for them today they are seen as stepping stones towards bigger bouts, and in Korea any sort of stepping stone towards a bout is significant.
The first of 3 WBA title fights came at Super Bantamweight and pit local fighter Min Jang (10-0-2, 2) [장민] Chinese visitor Junhui Zhao (4-6-2 1).
The 19 year old Jang looked the faster, smoother man from the off and controlled swathes of the bout behind his speed and his movement. To his credit Zhao marched forward through out the bout but was made to look slow and clumsy but the local teenager who piled up the rounds without ever really needing to move into any high gears.
After 10 rounds here there was no questioning the decision, with Jang taking the win on the scorecards and claiming his first international title, having previously held one of the Korean Super Flyweight titles last year. On paper this was a good learning experience for the local, though we do wonder whether he has the power to move up through the levels as he matures.
The second WBA Asia title fight was another victory for the Korean fans to celebrate, with 22 year old Woo Hyun Kim (9-1, 1) [김우현] taking a decision win over former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-6-2, 5) [中山佳祐] for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title. This was much more competitive than the Super Bantamweight bout and Nakayama was there to win, having genuine moments through out. Kim though played safe, boxed and moved and racked up the rounds, whilst picking his moments carefully. This was a really mature and level headed performance against a good opponent and it's clear Kim has got the potential to go far.
Sadly at the time of writing this bout between Kim and Nakayama is the only one we have scorecards for, with the judging going with Kim 97-93, twice, and 96-94. Those score did reflect the competitive nature of the bout, and like the judges we felt Kim did enough to take the victory.
The third WBA Asia bout sadly didn't go Korea's way with defending WBA Asia Middleweight champion Min Hyun Yang (9-4, 8) [양현민] being out pointed by skilful Italian born Australian based fighter Danilo Creati (6-0, 1) . The very talented Creati dominated much of the bout with his crisp clean punching, quicker hands and smart footwork.
Creati controlled the distance and tempo through out, and limited Yang's success to flashes. The rugged Yang struggled to move through the gears, and despite the occasional clean and solid shot he could never follow up with Creati regaining control quickly every time Yang seemed ready do build some momentum.
After 10 rounds there was no doubting the decision, with Creati the very worthy winner here.
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