In the second of 3 title bouts in China today we had the chance to see local hopeful Zong Li He (5-0, 1) take on Filipino visitor Vincent Astrolabio (12-3, 8) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Flyweight title. On paper the bout looked like an interesting match up between Astrolabio's power and aggression, and the movement and sharp back foot counter punching of the local. Sadly though the bout failed to really come alive with the Chinese fighter being too negative to really provide much in the form of two way action.
From the opening round Astrolabio showed he was willing to come forward, and looked the more rounded fighter, landing clean punches and having success with his offense. He however looked to fight almost entirely off the back foot, with single shots and a lot of movement. It made for some less great action with the He rarely holding his ground and rarely doing more than trying to slow the tempo of the bout, despite being the naturally bigger looking man.
He did show some really nice timing an movement, but far too often looked like a fighter scared of over committing to his work, fearful of what could come back in his direction. The safety first approach employed by He seemed like a tactic he knew could work for him in China, and it was one that he used through out the fight, frustrating Astrolabio and really making the fight hard to enjoy watching. It made even worse when he actually did come forward and land a fantastic straight shot, with nothing following it up.
As the bout went on it seemed like Astrolabio began to get lulled into a slow work rate himself, making an already tiresome bout even less interesting. He was however still coming forward, but began to look more and more for counters. Trying to counter a man unwilling to throw seemed a poor tactic for the Filipino, who landed some good solid right hands over the top, but showed little intensity himself.
It took until round 9 to really see either fighter show any signs of being hurt, with He being rocked onto his heels from a clean shot by Astrolabio. He however recovered before more damage was done and saw off the potential danger. In fact it took until part way through round 10 until we really saw the fighters go out an exchange blows, and that was way too late for either man to leave a real impression.
At the end of 10 rounds we went to the judges, and they seemed to bail out He's negativity, scoring the bout a majority decision win to the local, with scores of 96-94, twice, and 95-95. Astrolabio seemed to be the only one trying to have a fight here, and should feel himself very unlucky, though it wasn't the first time that the judges had favoured the locals on the card, with Yuya Nakamura denied a clear victory earlier on the show.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!