We kicked the 2020 version of this series off with a dramatic and action packed bout from China, and we return to China for another thrilling action packed 4 rounder. In fact we actually return to the same show as the crazy bout between Zixiang Wang and Mukhammadiso Zokhidov for another entertaining, low level, Chinese bout.
Cheng Wang (3-2) vs Xin Liu (1-1, 1)
As is probably the case every time we include a Chinese rookie level bout in this series neither Cheng Wang or Xin Liu are likely to be fighter's you are too familiar with, and that's the great thing about this series. We get to share fights you probably haven't seen, including this little tear up from Rizhao.
Coming in to the bout Cheng Wang was a 20 year old Chinese fight who had 5 bouts under his belt, all of which had gone the distance. He had made his debut in 2017 and won his first 3 bouts in just over 2 months. By the end of 2017 he had amassed his 3-2 record before taking almost 3 years away from the ring, losing his final two bouts.
Xin Liu on the other hand was a teenager who had made his debut in October 2019, in a losing effort, then returned to the ring in early 2020, with a TKO win over a fellow novice. He had then been out of the ring for around 6 months whilst the sport was pretty much put on a global hiatus.
Despite both being boxing novices they both fought like there was some pent up frustration and anger and straight from the opening seconds they were unloading on each other. Wang Cheng, fighting out of the red corner, seemed to try setting the early pace and came forward but almost instantly Liu caught him clean and put his foot on the accelerator. From there on we saw the men take a short breather before they again traded, with Wang again applying the pressure and Liu trying to line something up for his volume.
After such a brilliant opening minute the action did slow down, though we had flash points, and back and forth exchanges through the round, as everything slowed down and both men managed to gain a sense of composure.
With the pace slowing down in round 2 we didn't expect them to pick it up at the start of round 2, but that's exactly what they did as we ended up with another brilliant start to a round. This time however the pace didn't really slow down in the same way. Some of the action was messy on the inside, but for the most part this was a brilliant 3 minutes of action with both men landing plenty of leather. The action, when it was clean, was intense and thrilling, and when the bout slowdown it seemed like the men were giving not just themselves but also us, the viewers, a chance to catch out breath before moving through the gears once again.
The action again started hot in round 3, with Wang pressing and pressuring on the front foot, trying to make his strength and physical maturity count. Liu on the hand looked to create space, use his hand speed and land the eye catch shots. This made for a great dynamic, as it had earlier in the bout, but this round, unlike the others, was mostly a clean round, with the men punching out of the clinches and working on the inside. This change helped limit the pauses in the action as we ended up with 3 brilliant minutes of violence.
Sadly we didn't quite see round 4 match the intensity and excitement of round 3, but it was another round that saw a lot of leather being traded, some amazing back and forth action, and Liu really testing Wang's chin. It also saw the referee trying to keep their hands out of the action and it mad for one or two strange moments as the two fighters tried to do enough to claim a victory in a very close bout.
Don't get us wrong this was messy at times, it was spoiled somewhat by holding and spoiling, but like a good roller coaster those moments just added to the anticipation of the bouts peaks, the wild and thrilling exchanges.
If you want fun little war to watch you could do a lot, lot worse than taking the 20 minutes or so to watch this little gem from the Antai Tennis Park in Rizhao!
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.