The top seeded boxer in the category, Russia’s 31-year-old southpaw David Ayrapetyan won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has two World Championships medals, and a European gold.
Highly decorated, the Russian faced Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo in week one of the competition, with the Ecuadorian having won two tough Cuban events in succession earlier this year.
Ayrapetyan started the fight better, using his ramrod job effectively, and he applied the pressure on his South American opponent. However, from round three onwards, Quipo dropped just one round on a single scorecard, as his slick movement frustrated his Russian opponent massively.
Argentina’s Leandro Jose Blanc came into his APB debut against Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga, having lost to his Asian opponent last season in the World Series of Boxing.
Unhappily for the South American, it was déjà-vu, as he was comprehensively outboxed by Barriga, who is emerging as one of the best light flyweights in the world.
Barriga’s speed was the key difference between the two fighters, and though Blanc’s aggressive nature shone through, the quickness of the jab from Barriga was frightening, and his movement and footwork consistently bamboozled Blanc.
Blanc took advantage of Barriga’s lack of punches in round five, winning the round on all of the cards, but that was the only round he won in the fight, as Barriga took the victory 59:55 three times over.
Wu Zhonglin is one of China’s emerging stars, and the ovation was deafening in Foshan’s Lingnan Pearl as he made his way to the ring for his fight against Brazil’s Patrick Lourenco, who is at number two in the AIBA light flyweight rankings.
The Chinese National Champion won the silver medal in the World Combat Games in 2013 in Russia, and needed every inch of his experience in the first round when he was knocked down hard by Lourenco. Zhonglin showed tremendous heart in getting up from the shot, and stormed back well in the second round, as he attempted to make the Brazilian tire himself out.
Cheered on by the partisan crowd, the Chinese star worked his way into the fight, his guard gradually dropping as the rounds progressed, and though Lourenco’s punches were harder, the eye-catching shots were being delivered by Zhonglin.
Going into the last round, both men were tired, and yet still gave it their all. A very close fight went to the scorecards, where China’s new hero won via split decision the last round being all important. Two judges scored it 58:56 for Zhonglin, while one judge gave the same score for Lourenco.
Number two seed Birzhan Zhakypov is the current AIBA World Champion, and the two-time Olympian faced another home favourite in the last fight of the night, as 20-year-old Bin LV came to the ring to the sound of Queen’s We Are The Champions.
Seen as possibly the future star of the sport in his homeland, Bin LV won the gold medal at the 2012 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, and he achieved perhaps his finest result in boxing against Zhakypov, as he shocked the World champion.
The Chinese star excelled from the very beginning of the fight, refusing to be overawed by the occasion, despite the magnitude of what he was facing.
Zhakypov was unable to get into his usual blissful rhythm, as he was harried and harassed by Bin throughout the course of the entire fight, as both men traded shots at an intense level, with the quality work coming more from the Chinese corner.
The judges agreed with that assessment, with all three scoring it 58:56 for the home favourite, and on a night of supreme boxing action, both of the top seeds were defeated, while homeland stars were born.