By Tracy Morin
The final day of the 98th WBA World Convention, on Sunday, November 10, in Fuzhou, Jiangxi, China, offered up an array of extracurricular activities, including a friendly soccer match between WBA members (married vs. single attendees—the married team won after a 2-2 tie, by virtue of penalty kicks), a tour of the host city, and a six-fight boxing card followed by a farewell dinner.
The city tour included stops at the sprawling and serene SanWeng Garden, Fuzhou Wanshou Palace (named a National Key Cultural Heritage Site for its buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties), and Wenchangli Historical and Cultural Block, with well-preserved historical streets housing modern shops and handmade artisan goods. After lunch, convention-goers were bused to nearby Fuzhou Stadium for a late afternoon of live boxing.
In the first fight, Shan Tuo Lu (3-4-1, 3 KO) took on Fang Yong Zhang (12-5-1, 3 KO) in a six-round flyweight match. Both fighters started off busy and maintained their output throughout, but Zhang separated himself by constantly coming forward and pressing the action, while throwing virtually nonstop. Lu landed counters between Zhang’s flurries and didn’t back down, though he didn’t seem to possess the power to slow down his relentless opponent. Zhang tried to close the show in the sixth with no success, but Zhang’s work in the competitive and action packed-fight did nab him the unanimous decision.
Featherweights LunJun Zhao (8-1-1, 1 KO) and Jia Jia Li (4-2, 2 KO) faced off in a six-rounder that went the distance. Though the southpaw Li was game, Zhao clearly had more pop in his punches and simply outworked his opponent over the course of the fight, landing the more telling blows as Li attempted to shimmy his way around the ring and slip out of harm’s way. Zhao dominated the action as Li simply wasn’t busy enough to do much damage. Surprisingly, one judge’s scorecard had the fight even at 57-57, overruled by scores of 59-55 and 60-54.
In a fight for the WBA China female light flyweight title, Jianping Ouyang (5-1-1, 3 KO) overcame a significant size disadvantage by tapping into her impressive skill set, dominating and eventually dropping Thaksaporn Intachai (1-1, 1 KO). Ouyang’s speed, defense and patience paid off as she consistently worked her way inside and ripped off combinations before moving back out of reach again—ultimately putting on a boxing clinic against the increasingly befuddled Intachai. Her consistent attack had clearly worn down Intachai, who was finally knocked down after a string of punches in the sixth. Though Intachai may have been able to beat the count, she made no effort to do so, and the fight ended in a TKO for the fan favorite Ouyang.
Huerban Qiatehe (8-2-2, 2 KO) faced Zi Ang Qu (3-3, 1 KO) in a very evenly matched, back-and-forth affair for the WBA China flyweight title in a 10-rounder. The bout, while competitive, nearly lulled the crowd to sleep due to its lack of sustained action from either side; in round 7, the point was illustrated when each man landed a nearly identical five-punch combination in a brief exchange. With each taking turns throwing and landing, the judges had a difficult job, and both fighters may have sensed this when they came out swinging for the 10th and final round. The judges were understandably split in their views, with a score of 96-94 for Qu, overruled by 96-94 and 97-93 for Qiatehe.
Yeerlan Nuerlanbieke (4-0, 1 KO) tried to use his boxing skills against Yang Cheng Jin (9-6-2, 5 KO) by circling and jabbing, keeping the fight in center ring. After a tentative start, Nuerlanbieke enacted a measured pace while Jin attempted to press the action in spurts, coming on strong in round three and finding his target with more aggression. But Nuerlanbieke remained composed and settled back to his tactical methods until an accidental headbutt in round 7 opened a cut over the right eye of Jin, which seemed to affect his vision. Before the start of the 8th, though Jin was ready to continue, the officials called off the fight due to the deepening cut. Scores were 68-65 and 67-66 (twice) for Nuerlanbieke.
Cruiserweight Jian Zheng Wang (10-0, 8 KO) needed less than one minute to take out Zhao Xin Zhang (7-2-1, 3 KO). Wang went after his opponent at the opening bell and hurt Zhang with a right hand that stumbled him. Smelling blood, Wang attacked and landed at least five unanswered punches before the ref stepped in and waved off the fight.
After the fights, attendees enjoyed a farewell dinner at the Grand New Century Hotel Fuzhou before heading home.