Boxing: China's Xu Can successfully defends featherweight title

Boxing: China's Xu Can successfully defends featherweight title

Xu Can
Xu Can of China (left) fights against Shun Kubo of Japan during their WBA Featherweight boxing title bout in Fuzhou, China. (STR/AFP)

SHANGHAI: Chinese boxer Xu Can successfully defended his WBA featherweight title at the first attempt by stopping Japanese challenger Shun Kubo in round six on Sunday (May 26) in Fuzhou.

The 25-year-old is just the third Chinese in history to hold a boxing world title, along with WBC minimumweight titlist Xiong Zhaozhong and WBO flyweight champion Zou Shiming.

Xu, who improves to 17-2 (3 KOs), holds the lesser version of the WBA's two featherweight titles but the ruthless win is more evidence that he is a force to be reckoned with.

In another "regular" title fight, unbeaten Carlos Canizales of Venezuela held onto his WBA light flyweight crown with a unanimous decision over another Japanese, Sho Kimura.

Xu scored a stunning upset of Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas with a 12-round unanimous decision victory in January in Houston to announce himself on the world stage.

But he was in his hometown for his first defence and with the close-knit arena in Fuzhou, southeastern China, firmly on his side, Xu enjoyed success as early as the second round.

He rattled Kubo, back in the ring after more than a year out because of an eye problem, towards the end of the round and appeared to have more power and pace in his punches.

The 29-year-old Kubo targeted the home boxer's body, but Xu was the aggressor and caught the Japanese flush once more towards the end of the third round.

Wearing red trunks with yellow trim - the colours of China - Xu began the fifth in style, rocking Kubo and piling in on him.

Kubo was in trouble and hit the canvas with 23 seconds left in the round following a three-punch Xu combination.

Kubo beat the count and just about survived to the bell, but it was just a matter of time.

Xu smelled blood and with 1:44 of the sixth round left, referee Gustavo Padilla stepped in to save Kubo from further punishment.

While Xu holds the "regular" WBA featherweight title, Mexico's Leo Santa Cruz is the more prestigious "super" champion.

Source: AFP/de