Zhang and Melian battle in crucial Cycle I Round 2 Bantamweight bout09 July 2015
A crucial AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Cycle I Round 2 Bantamweight (56 kg) match will take place on Friday night in Guiyang, China, as home star Jiawei Zhang (CHI) fights Alberto Melian (ARG) for the second time in APB history.
From 19:00 GMT (+8), fans in the arena and those watching around the world live and free at https://www.youtube.com/user/AIBAproboxingTV will be able to witness the bout, which will determine the number one contender for APB Bantamweight Champion Khedafi Djelkhir (FRA).
The winner will additionally earn a qualification quota place for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which raises the stakes of an already tense contest even higher.
Zhang’s Cycle I Round 1 match with Benson Gicharu Njangiru (KEN) was stopped in the second round, and the Chinese athlete has also beaten Robenilson Vieira de Jesus (BRA) and Sergey Vodopiyanov (RUS) in this competition.
Melian has lost only once in APB to the titleholder Djelkhir, and defeated Zhang in a close battle during the Matches for Champions stage.
Although Melian has looked impressive in the ring, especially against AIBA World Champion Javid Chalabiyev (AZB) last time out, there has been a worrying trend in the majority of his contests.
In three of his five APB fights, the Argentine has lost the last round of the match, and he also struggled towards the end of his bout with Chalabiyev.
This statistic is telling as Melian often pushes the action at the start of his contests, including in his title match with Djelkhir.
Melian also won the first four rounds of his earlier meeting with Zhang, but lost the last two rounds to his resurgent Chinese opponent.
Their rematch will take place over eight rounds as opposed to six, which should favour Zhang considering Melian’s struggles down the stretch, however the two-time Asian Games silver medalist has never competed over the eight round distance in any format of boxing.
Zhang has an excellent jab which he often uses as a rangefinder for his power punches, and his elegant footwork enables smart control across all four corners of the ring.
Melian also uses his jab very well, which allows him to pressure opponents onto the back foot, while he maintains a solid defence of his own.
Both men will have their own perception on how their rematch will go, and with the tension ramped up even further considering how much is on the line, the winner could be the fighter who has learnt the most from their first meeting.
Another intriguing Bantamweight bout features on the undercard in China, as Sangmyeong Ham (KOR) and Hakan Erseker (GER) aim to move up the all-important rankings.
Ham dominated Matti Koota (FIN) in Cycle I Round 1, while Erseker impressed against Yoni Blanco (ECU).