Every so often we look forward to a fight with the expectation that it will be a modern day classic. On paper the styles should work, the reward for the winner should drive both on to perform to their best and for some reason their appears to be everything there for something special
Sadly they don't all go the way we expect,and that was the case earlier today when Knockout CP Freshmart (13-0, 6) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] battled Byron Rojas (17-3-3-1, 8) to become the true WBA Minimumweight champion.. On paper the bout had the reward of being the only recognised WBA champion at 105lbs, it had two aggressively minded men and it had the attention of the hardcore fans, not just the local fans of the two fighters, from Thailand and Nicaragua.
Sadly however the bout ended up being mostly a torturous affair with several things ruining what should have been a great fight.
The bout started fast, and Rojas came out like a man on a mission in the opening round before Knockout started to return fire in an opening round that seemed to suggest we were on to something special. The second round was also promising with Knockout showing a fast start and bullying the Nicaraguan fighter around with his physical strength and power.
Sadly the bout then went down hill with both quickly looking tired and as if the unique conditions in Thailand had quickly taken it's toll on both fighters who spend much of the next 10 rounds holding, wresting, spoiling and generally destroying the memories the first two rounds. It seemed that neither could make more than a spurt of boxing in every round, and when they managed that the other found a way to kill the momentum.
With both holding and wrestling the bout became a farcical mess with the referee being just as busy, if not busier, than the two fighters. Had that just been a few of the later rounds then it'd have been fair enough, but with it being vast swathes of the bout it left everyone feeling disappointed.
The holding did keep things competitive, but it was more due to the lack of action that things were close, rather than the back and forth of a truly good fight. It was due to it being a “competitive mess” that their was some genuine intrigue in the scorecards, which could have been completely all over the place. Surprisingly however there were all the same, 115-113 to Knockout CP Freshmart.
Given the expectation of the bout this stank, and despite the scorecards we don't imagine many fans will be calling for a rematch. Both men were guilty of holding, the conditions did the bout no favours but they are merely excuses for a bout that quickly became disjointed and was rarely enjoyable.
Over the last decade or so Chinese boxing has been growing, markedly, with a number of Chinese fighters getting attention in the West including the gigantic Taishan Dong, the heavy handed Zhang Junlong and former amateur star Zou Shiming. We have also seen a number of Chinese fighters fight for world titles including the aforementioned Shiming and Ik Yang.
Today we saw another Chinese fighter fighting for a world title, Super Bantamweight Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who was regarded by those in China as potentially their best hope for a world title in the coming years. Jun was hoping to become the second Chinese man to become a world champion as he took on Panamanian based Venezuelan veteran Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) for the vacant WBA Super Bantamweight title.
On paper Jun had most the advantages. He was fighting at home in China, he was 11 years younger than Cermeno and the rising star of Chinese boxing. Sadly for Jun the advantages didn't really help him as the Chinese slugger was made to look rudimentary through out, with Cermeno, the more polished fighter, picking him off with counters through out.
The bout started slowly but by round 2 it was clear that Cermeno was the much more skilled man and the man who looked in control, scoring a flash knockdown in the second. From then on Jun seemed to really struggle to get into a rhythm or find his range with shots regularly falling wide or going over Cermeno's head whilst Cermeno, the more conservative fighter, was landing counters at will.
In the middle rounds Jun tried to turn the bout around by picking up the pace and forcing Cermeno to work more,that plan however made life easier for Cermeno who found more openings and landed more and more frequently whilst Jun struggled to have any notable success.
Despite the bout being one sided for the most part it did seem like we were on route to a decision, that was until round 12 when Cermeno seemed to stagger a tired looking Jun who failed to respond. A follow up forced the referee to stop the Chinese warrior, who was looking completely spent, despite not going down.
The skill level between the two was huge and although Jun did give it a go he was never really in the fight. Sadly for Chinese boxing this loss comes on the back of other high profile losses for Chinese fighters, including Zou Shiming's loss to Amnat Ruenroeng, Ik Yang's loss to Cesar Rene Cuenca and Xiong Zhao Zhong's recent loss to Jose Antonio Jimenez.
The bad run for Chinese boxing will continue here, but it does seem like the country is on the verge of a boxing revolution. Whether that takes 10, 15 or 20 years it will happen given the growth in the sport. Sadly for Jun it's back to the drawing board.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.