Friday, Aug. 28, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.
- What: USA vs. China Championship Fights
- When: 7:00 p.m. Sunday
- Location: Las Vegas Hilton Theater
- Featured bouts: Kevin Ross vs Kang En - WBC international super lightweight title
- Shawn Yarborough vs Xu Hou – IKKC light heavyweight title
- Christine Toledo vs Zheng Yenan
- Baxtery Humby vs Xu Yan
Six of China’s most popular Muay Thai boxers arrived in Las Vegas Thursday in advance of Sunday’s USA vs. China Championship Fights at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The card is the first co-promotion between America and China on American soil since the widespread professionalization of sports in China.
“After the Olympics, China instituted professional sports,” said In Sync Productions promoter Dennis Warner. “Before that, everything was amateur.”
Warner insists that despite China’s late start in the world of professional athletics, the Chinese will soon become a force to be reckoned with.
“You saw the Olympics. The biggest medal winners were the Chinese and the United States,” Warner said. “Once they get their eyes on something, it’s just a matter of training and technique.”
China’s team captain Wang Hong Xiang promises that he and his countrymen will deliver a display of martial arts skills rarely seen by American audiences.
“I have a different style of fighting than Americans fighters,” Xiang said through translator and Chinese promoter Tony Chang. “It’s a style Americans never get to see.”
Headlining the card is the long anticipated rematch between native Las Vegan Kevin Ross and WBC Muay Thai super lightweight international champion Kang En.
En won China its first WBC international Muay Thai championship during his and Ross’ clash Jan. 19 in Beijing.
However, the fight ended controversially as a miscommunication between Ross and the fight’s non-English speaking referee proved to be a crucial factor in En’s unanimous decision victory.
“We were in a clinch against the ropes and [the referee] went to separate us,” Ross said. “My hand got stuck in the thing that holds the ropes together and I tried to pull it out. I pointed over to the ropes, trying to say my hand was stuck and apparently [the referee] took that as me arguing with him and he took a point away from me.”
This time the fight is in America, but that does not seem to bother En, who has fought outside of his homeland on numerous occasions.
“It doesn’t matter where you fight,” En said through a translator. “You can’t count on the referee. You can only count on yourself. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. The only thing that matters is that the fans enjoy the fight, and that is all.”
The card also features 2006 King’s cup champion and Xtreme Couture trainer Shawn Yarborough. Yarborough will take on WBC Chinese national light heavyweight champion Xu Hou for the IKKC light heavyweight championship.
Las Vegas’ Christine Toledo, ranked No. 1 by the Women’s International Kickboxing Association, will also see action against China’s Wu Lin Feng women’s champion Zheng Yenan.
While the event will not be broadcast live in the U.S., Chinese broadcast company Henan TV expects the event to be seen by more than 3 million viewers in China.