By Jake Donovan
Can Xu’s previous two fights in his native China produced the first two stoppage wins of his young and thrilling career.
The return home made it an even hat trick.
Xu made the most of his hero’s welcome, tearing through former super bantamweight titlist Shun Kubo in six rounds to defend his secondary featherweight title Sunday evening in Fuzhou, China.
Kubo was floored in round five and battered in the ensuing frame before the bout was stoppage at 1:16 of round six.
The night ended much easier than it began for Xu, who made the first defense of the title he nabbed from Jesus Rojas in a 12-round thriller this past January in Houston, Texas. Fighting in his mainland for the first time in 22 months, the defending titleholder briefly struggled to solve the style of Kubo, a southpaw from Japan who found early success with his jab.
However close was the fight after three rounds, Xu turned a corner in round four and never looked back. The 25-year old from Kunming—on the other side of the nation, but born in nearby Suzhou—reminded Kubo just as he’s done nearly everyone he’s faced to date that his modest knockout-to-win ratio doesn’t properly reflect the punching power he possesses.
A hearty lesson was served up towards the end of round five, when Kubo (13-2, 9KOs)—fighting outside of his native Japan for the first time in his career—was decked by a lefr hook with 20 seconds to go in the frame. It was late enough to where once he beat the count, he was able to make it to the bell.
However, it was also damaging enough to where he never truly recovered.
Xu went on the attack, battering the former titlist until referee Gustavo Padilla stepped in to put an end to the night.
Sunday’s feat runs Xu’s record to 17-2 (3KOs), having now won his last 14 starts after sputtering out to a 3-2 career start. After being extended the distance in each of his first 16 fights, Xu has now scored wins inside the distance in three of his last five ring appearances.
The stoppage win follows a pair of 7th round knockouts in Xu’s last two bouts in China before embarking on a brief U.S. tour. His win over Rojas led to his entering a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions, whom streamed the event live on its Facebook page. The event also aired live locally on CCTV-5.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox