19 Jan 2009

Kang En has won the first WBC Muaythai International title for China when he beat USA superstar Kevin Ross in a controversial points decision at the Beijing Olympic Martial Arts Centre Sunday night.
A raucous crowd cheered on Kang as he worked every skill to stave off the sustained challenge of Ross to win the first coveted WBC green belt for China.

Kang attributed his win to his fans who chanted "Kang, Kang" when he was locked into a desperate duel in the final fifth round that had both fighters near to exhaustion.

Ross lost one point for arguing with the referee over a grappling break ruling and had a strong punch that dropped Kang Eng declared a "flash" put down, and not an official points scoring knockdown, that would have required a mandatory count.

Immediately after the contest USA WBC promoter Dennis Warner announced that Kang and Ross would be scheduled for a title rematch in Las Vegas later this year in what is likely to attract a record live audience for a professional Muaythai contest in the Nevada state.

Ross said the title rematch in Las Vegas where he lives and trains would be to his advantage. "But I will have to be at my best. Kang is a very tough fighter and he can improve, as I must do too."

The three judges scored the historic title 49-47, 49-45 and 50-47. However had the "flash" down been declared a knockdown and, had Ross not lost a point through his indiscretion in the third round, he would probably have won on points.
The Chinese fans were delirious at the result and pandemonium broke out in the ring after the result was announced, as ringside VIP's surged into the ring to congratulate their hero.

Also on the "Hero Legends" card, the first professional Muaythai event to be authorized by government sports authority in China, Thailand's middleweight champion Lamsongkram Chuwatana outclassed Russian Youness Elmshannri. In the second round Elmshannri pressed Lamsongkram with a flurry of head punches, but the Thai superstar changed tactics and chopped down Elmshannri with repeated leg kicks that forced the Russian to capitulate being unable to stand at the end of the third round.

In the third contest on the super card Thai champion Jomthong Chuwatanna (60 kg) was forced to go the full distance by tenacious Japanese challenger Atom Yamada (60 kilos). Although overwhelmed by Jomthong's grappling skills the stocky Yamada courageously kept on attacking although convincingly beaten 50-43, 50-44 and 50-43.

Chinese promoter Tony Chen said the success of the event was a huge achievement for Muaythai in China.
"Martial arts culture is very much a part of China history. The fact that the Shaolin temple monks attended the event shows how popular professional martial arts will be in China's future, and many more WBC Muaythai championship contests will be officially scheduled in China. The performance of all the fighters (on Sunday) impressed the Chinese martial arts fans. The event was a very big step for Muaythai in China."

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