Brilliant Birzhan Zhakypov earns Rio 2016 qualification after defeating Carlos Quipo
AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Cycle I Round 2 exploded into life on Friday night as Light Flyweight (49 kg) sensation Birzhan Zhakypov (KAZ) superbly outpointed Carlos Quipo (ECU) in front of an appreciative crowd in Guiyang, China.
Zhakypov’s exceptional victory has earned him a future APB title match against Light Flyweight Champion Bin LV (CHI), as well as a qualification quota for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The match began with the Kazakh 2013 AIBA World Champion in complete control, as he dominated the centre of the ring with great confidence and swagger.
Solid punches to both the head and body of Quipo forced the Ecuadorian onto the backfoot throughout the first two rounds, despite plenty of lateral movement from the South American supremo.
Quipo rallied in the third frame however, and his low stance started to pay dividends when he began to exploit the slight openings in Zhakypov’s defence.
The power advantage belonged to Quipo, but the pawing jab and footwork of the Kazakh often enabled him to perform better when both men attacked at the same time.
Zhakypov’s height advantage was also telling, with his long reach and fast hands another deterrent to Quipo, who battled manfully throughout the middle stages of the bout to move his opponent back against the ropes.
Body shots proved to be Quipo’s main weapon as the rounds progressed, and he dug in heavy left and right hooks to the midsection of Zhakypov with consummate ease.
Despite suffering the stamina-sapping shots, Zhakypov remained calm and switched back to his relaxed style of boxing which once again frustrated Quipo.
The crowd in Guiyan increased in noise with every shot thrown, as both competitors finished the bout with great intensity despite the fast pace set across all eight rounds.
Although Quipo won the final frame as a result of his superior work rate, his late success was not enough to change the overall outcome of the bout, and it was Zhakypov who was crowned the winner 78:74 and 77:75, with the third judge scoring the fight a draw.
A second Light Flyweight battle took place on the undercard, where Leandro Blanc (ARG) beat Ariunbold Ganselem (MGL) for the second time in APB.
Ganselem performed well at the start and end of their contest, but Blanc reigned supreme in the middle rounds, which was enough to secure a 77:75 victory across the board.
Leandro BLANC (ARG) W.P. (77:75/77:75/77:75) vs Ariunbold GANSELEM (MGL)
Carlos QUIPO (ECU) vs Birzhan Zhakypov (KAZ) W.P. (75:77/76:77/74:78)
Zhang conquers Melian in captivating Chinese Bantamweight battle
Jiawei Zhang (CHI) produced a career best performance in Guiyang, China on Friday night to defeat Alberto Melian (ARG) in an incredible AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Cycle I Round 2 Bantamweight (56 kg) match.
Zhang’s victory has earned him a guaranteed APB title match with Bantamweight Champion Khedafi Djelkhir (FRA), and also a qualification quota for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
There was no love lost between the two fighters at the weigh-in, and the tension continued in the opening stages of their contest as both world class athletes circled each other with much intent.
Melian had beaten Zhang in a previous APB match, yet this time Zhang was sharp from the outset, and used blistering combinations to devastating effect against his South American rival.
The low and crouching stance of Melian was designed to exploit any hesitancy in the attacks of Zhang, but Zhang was composed and accurate in his punch output, which frustrated the Argentine.
Cheered on by a rapturous home crowd in China, Zhang’s left hook was a significant difference maker in the middle rounds, as Melian was unable to produce any meaningful shots of his own.
Both men had clearly trained extraordinarily hard for this crucial bout with so much at stake, and there was few backward steps taken by either boxer at any stage.
Zhang’s dazzling repertoire of shots continued to impress the judges and his supporters, with the decibel levels rising as each
round neared its completion.
The Chinese athlete had never been past six rounds in his career, but produced his best work of the fight in the seventh round to once again display his tremendous conditioning.
Melian rallied in the eighth and final frame, but his effort was not enough to create a significant difference, and he lost the match on all three scorecards.
An emotional and delighted Zhang threw his gloves into the crowd following the end of proceedings, which led to even more support and appreciation from the loyal fans who had supported him so magnificently.
Another absorbing Bantamweight bout featured on the undercard in China, where Sangmyeong Ham (KOR) outpointed Hakan Erseker (GER).
Ham carried a clear power advantage against Erseker, and was a deserved winner according to all three judges.
Sangmyeong HAM W.P. (77:75/79:73/77:75) vs Hakan ERSEKER
Jiawei ZHANG W.P. (79:73/77:75/78:74) vs Alberto MELIAN