The APB World Championship Matches continued with a spectacular title match on Sunday night, when Jiawei Zhang (CHI) won the APB Bantamweight (56 kg) Championship after defeating Khedafi Djelkhir (FRA).
A packed crowd at the at the Foshan Nanhai Gymnasium eagerly cheered Zhang when he made a grand entrance to the ring, and the noise in the building increased dramatically after their local star impressed in the first round.
Zhang was the busier fighter in round one, where his quick body shots halted the advances of the defending French Champion.
Djelkhir opened the second round sporting a tight guard in an attempt to halt the forward momentum of Zhang, but the pressure soon continued from the challenger, with fierce left hooks regularly hitting Djelkhir’s head and body.
Both boxers are aggressive competitors, and their attacking instincts shone through the opening rounds, with barely a step backwards taken by either man.
The Chinese fighter proceeded to control the third and fourth rounds, before Djelkhir improved to win his first round of the fight in the fifth frame.
Zhang’s initial onslaught seemed to sap his stamina as the contest reached its middle stages, and an improving Djelkhir took advantage by increasing his own output in the sixth round.
A return to his earlier tactics paid dividends for Zhang in the seventh when he stemmed the Djelkhir rise, as his energy and body shots fizzed once more.
Although Djelkhir once again displayed his legendary resilience to win the eighth round by using strength and control, it proved to be the last frame he would enjoy success in.
Zhang simply would not be defeated, and despite having never competed past eight rounds before, he bossed the closing section of the bout by combining fluid attacks with a masterfully honed defence.
By the time the 12th and final round began, Djelkhir needed a knockout to retain his title, but once again he was faced with a dogged and fresh opponent whose relentless onslaught was too much to handle.
The already loud crowd erupted in delight when a delighted Zhang was named the winner of the bout, and the new Bantamweight (56 kg) Champion, by unanimous decision.
Scores of 112:107 x2 and 111:107 reflected the authority the new Champion had on the bout, but both men should be proud of the excellent fight they created.