The APB World Championship Matches opened in style on Friday night at the Guizhou Arena in Guiyang, China, when Light Flyweight (49 kg) Champion Bin Lyu (CHI) successfully defended his title against Birzhan Zhakypov (KAZ).
Lyu had previously defeated Zhakypov in APB, and looked full of confidence as he made an entertaining entrance to the ring.
Zhakypov, the 2013 AIBA World Champion, had won five matches in a row prior to this bout, but struggled in the opening round as Lyu opened up on the front-foot.
Round two followed a similar pattern to the first, where only the exemplary head movement and defence from Zhakypov enabled him to avoid damage from Lyu’s speedy shots.
Growing in confidence, Lyu began to fight with more aggression in round three, but the clever Zhakypov won his first round of the bout after he exploited the emerging gaps and sat down on his punches.
Lyu soon returned to the style which had proved so effective in the early stages, and proceeded to dominate the middle stages of the bout.
Although Zhakypov was enjoying success in the first 90 seconds of each round, he struggled to maintain his momentum in the second half, which was where his Chinese rival excelled.
By the time the eighth round had finished, both fighters were about to fight in unchartered waters, and though Lyu was vastly ahead on points, he was beginning to get caught by Zhakypov’s fierce bodyshots.
The 31-year-old Kazakh is a tenacious campaigner, and soaked up his fatigue by winning the ninth and tenth rounds to give himself a fighting chance of victory as the spectacular bout neared its conclusion.
Buoyed by the huge support he was experiencing inside the packed venue, Lyu stemmed the tide by controlling the eleventh round, before confirming his deserved triumph with an exceptional final three minutes of the match.
Clad in the flag of his beloved China, Lyu was awarded the unanimous decision victory on all three scorecards, much to the delight of the fans in Guiyang.
Three further matches featured on the undercard, beginning with a TKO triumph for Anton Pinchuk (KAZ) over Dragos Ghionea (ROU).
Elsewhere, Thulasi Tharumalingam (QAT) defeated Tianlong Ding (CHI) by split decision, while Yong Chang (CHI) outpointed Ilyas Suleimenov (KAZ).