Qiu set for ti­tle chal­lenge

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By MUR­RAY GREIG mur­ray­greig@chi­nadaily.com.cn

For Qiu Xiao­jun, it’s a re­match for re­demp­tion.

On Sat­ur­day night in his home­town of Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, Qiu gets an­other crack at Ne­homar Cer­meno — and an op­por­tu­nity to ex­punge half a year’s worth of painful mem­o­ries.

On June 24, Cer­meno (25-5-1, 15 KOs) gave Qiu a box­ing les­son in their clash for the WBA’s va­cant world su­per ban­tamweight ti­tle at Cap­i­tal Gym­na­sium in Bei­jing. The fleet-footed Pana­ma­nian was lead­ing 109-100 on two score­cards and 107-101 on the third when he scored a TKO in the 12th round — the only time Qiu (21-3, 10 KOs) has failed to go the dis­tance.

To add in­sult to in­jury, the 36-year-old Cer­meno dic­tated the pace from the open­ing bell. He was quicker and much more ac­cu­rate than Qiu, who is 10 years younger.

The loss ended a streak of 12 con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries for Qiu (21-3, 10 KOs), who en­tered the bout ranked No 2 in the world by the WBA. He dropped to No 9 af­ter the loss, but has climbed back to No 7 fol­low­ing a con­vinc­ing three-round de­mo­li­tion of Filipino south­paw Robert Ud­to­han in Wen­zhou in Septem­ber.

Qiu, who claimed the va­cant WBA In­ter­na­tional ti­tle 13 months ago with a TKO of Amor Be­lahdj Ali in Monaco, re­turned to form against Ud­to­han, pun­ish­ing him with a re­lent­less body as­sault that fi­nally forced the Filipino’s corner to throw in the towel.

“I gave my best to get an im­pres­sive win and I did,” Qiu said af­ter­ward. “Now I want an­other chance at win­ning the world ti­tle.”

Eye­ing China

Las Ve­gas-based Top Rank Box­ing has signed an agree­ment with New Zealand’s Duco Events to co-pro­mote newly minted WBO heavy­weight champ Joseph Parker in China and North Amer­ica.

Fight­ing in his home­town of Auck­land last Sun­day, the 6-foot-4 Parker im­proved to 22-0 (18 KOs) with a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over Amer­i­can Andy Ruiz (29-1) for the va­cant crown.

“We have mas­sive global am­bi­tions for Joseph and for a num­ber of other fight­ers,” Duco Events chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Sned­den told News- talk ZB. “But first we re­ally need to take some time to re­flect on where we are at and what we have to do.”

Sned­den said Parker still has plenty of work to do in de­vel­op­ing the skills needed to be­come the best in the world.

“We have to work out how to get him there. I don’t think we would throw him into a fight against (IBF champ) An­thony Joshua straight away, even if that was a pos­si­bil­ity,” he said.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum hinted Parker’s first ti­tle de­fense could be in the US — but didn’t rule out bring­ing the new champ to China.

“We’re not do­ing any­thing un­til the end of March,” Arum said. “Parker has fought five times this year and he needs a cou­ple of months rest.”

A pos­si­ble op­po­nent on Parker’s radar is Qing­dao’s un­beaten Zhang Longjun, who has won all 14 of his fights by KO.

The 35-year-old Zhang stands 6-foot-4 and tips the scales at 275 lbs.

He’s the reign­ing WBA Ocea­nia cham­pion, with his most re­cent bout a two-round blitz of Brazil’s Julio Ce­sar San­tos (28-6) in Penglai, Shan­dong prov­ince, in Au­gust.

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