Qiu set for title challenge
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.”
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.