Chinese boxer Can Xu defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight world title on Sunday night, defeating Japan's Shun Kubo with a six-round technical knockout in his hometown of Fuzhou in East China's Jiangxi Province.
Xu, who turned professional in 2013, became China's first WBA champion after stunning Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas by unanimous decision in Houston, Texas in January. His current record now stands at 17 wins and two loss, with three KOs.
In the January fight, Xu was the heavy underdog and few expected him to win his first world title bout, but on Sunday victory seemed only a matter of time against the former WBA super-bantamweight titleholder Kubo. Starting in Round 1 Xu displayed superior boxing skills, landing body and head blows seemingly at will. Kubo was knocked down in Round 5.
Xu smelled blood at the beginning of the sixth round and Kubo had little defense against an onslaught of punches. Referee Gustavo Padilla finally stepped in to end the bout and save Kubo from further hurt.
After stunning Rojas four months ago in the US, Xu said his power came from China. On Sunday, he told reporters that his power on the night "came from China, from Fuzhou."
When asked how he dealt with the fact that no Chinese fighter had beaten a Japanese opponent in a world title bout before Sunday, Xu replied, "That has never been a pressure on me. All I know is that I'm a boxer, I know what I'm doing and I pay no attention to other matters."
What Xu holds is the WBA's "regular" title, the secondary belt to the organization's "super" title. He told a post-fight press conference that the "super" title has always been his dream and he would love to fight for it.
Max Power Promotions CEO Lu Xiaolong called Xu's victory "a big step forward for Chinese boxing … Chinese boxing needs boxers like Xu who can fight hard battles and dare to win."
Roberto Diaz, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions of the US, thinks Xu is already among the world's best fighters.
"We saw a champion being born in America in January, but tonight we saw a star being born in Fuzhou," Diaz told the press conference.
"Xu Can showed today that he can, that he will, and he belongs into the best fighters in the world."
Xu is China's third boxing world champion after Xiong Chaozhong and Zou Shiming.
Xiong was the first Chinese to win a boxing world title, holding the World Boxing Council minimum weight title from 2012 to 2014.
The 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, Zou won his first World Boxing Organization flyweight title in 2014 and held it on and off until 2017.