When we started doing the top 10 series we didn't expect to come in to too many issues and in reality we didn't....until we got to the Light Heavyweight division. Sadly however when we hit 175lbs, and again when we looked at Cruiserweight, we realised there just wasn't the depth needed for a top 10. As a result we are going cut the numbers for both divisions down to a top 5 ranking.
With that now out of the way, here are our top 5 Asian Light Heavyweights.
1-Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10)
Leading the way in the division is unbeaten Chinese Light Heavyweight Fanlong Meng, who is supposed to be getting an IBF world title fight later in the year. The 32 year old Southpaw has proven to be a talented boxer-puncher and wins over the likes of Adam Deines, Frank Buglioni and Emmanuel Danso have shown his ability. Sadly whilst he is a very skilled fighter with a strong amateur background he has shown a questionable chin and has been down several times during his career. He's, unfortunately, supposed to take on divisional destroyed Artur Beterbiev next and that is not a good style match up for "Cold Blood".
2-Rustam Tulaganov (3-0, 1)
Former Uzbek amateur standout Rustam Tulaganov comes in second, despite having only 3 bouts to his name. The talented Uzbek made his debut in 2017, but was out of the ring for over 2 years before impressing in late 2019 with his second professional win. Like many top Uzbek's Tulaganov looks like he can be fast tracked, and we expect big things of him. At 28 he doesn't have any more time to waste, but by that same token he's only a few fights away from an alphabet rankings and a potential world title eliminator. Yes he's only had 3 professional bouts, but he is very advanced for a man with just 3 fights.
3-Mingcun Chen (6-0, 6)
We return to China for our third ranked fighter at 175lbs wuith Mingcun Chen, a 22 year old novice who debuted at the end of 2017 and has slowly been making a name for himself. To date his best wub us iver Clint Alderson, for a low level WBF title, but given his age and potential there is reason to be excited in the youngster, and hopefully we see him taking on some stiffer competition from Australia and Eastern Europe in late 2020. Sadly his career is a bit shrouded, but outside of the top 2 he's pretty much the best of the rest.
4-Abdulkhamid Khakimov (5-0, 3)
Another Uzbek making his name in the division is 28 year old Abdulkhamid Khakimov. Whilst Khakimov doesn't have much hype behind him he did kick off 2020 with a solid win over Russian journeyman Karen Avetisyan, and that's a win worthy of note, even if Avetisyan is little more than a journeyman. In reality that one win is pretty much better than what the other Asian fighters in the division has. That's how weak the division is in terms of Asian fighters right now.
5-Zhaoxin Zhang (8-1-1, 4)
Rounding out this surprisingly weak top 5 is 24 year old Chinese fighter Zhaoxin Zhang, who suffered a loss in 2019 to Zulipikaer Maimaitiali, and then struggled past Chase Haley later in the year. On paper Zhang got his best win in November 2019, when he stopped Jianzheng Wang, but that still wasn't a big or meaningful win outside of China.
Fingers crossed that in the coming years the Light Heavyweight division sees a burst of amateur talent making it's mark there from Central Asia but at the moment, only the top two Asian fighters in the division are really worthy any attention at all.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).