Yang sets sights on capturing world title

By Mathew Scott in Macao Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-16 23:33:01

Boxer determined to win belt for Chinese fans and legend Roach

Dalian-born boxer "IK" Yang Lianhui steps into the ring Saturday aiming to claim the International Boxing Federation Junior Welterweight title, saying it's more than just the belt at stake. He said he wants his efforts to serve as an inspiration to a new generation of Chinese fighters.

"I want to win this title for China and I want to inspire all the young ­Chinese who have started going to the gym and are training to be boxers," Yang said Thursday, as he prepared for his fight against Argentina's Cesar "El Distinto" Cuenca at the Cotai Arena in Macao.

The 26-year-old Yang will carry an undefeated record of 18 wins, with 13 knockouts, into the ring against a 34-year-old opponent with an imposing record of 47 wins with two knockouts and said he had been working hard in preparation for the bout at the Los Angeles gym of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who also mentors eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming.

Roach has remained in the US this week as he continues to recover from back surgery and Yang said he was determined to return to his mentor with the belt. If he does so he will become just the second Chinese fighter to win a professional word title. Chinese boxer Xiong Zhaozhong now holds the World Boxing Council minimum weight belt.

"I can't wait to see the look on his face when I walk into the gym with the belt around my waist," said Yang. "We have worked hard and I promise I will put on a good show on Saturday for all my fans in China."

Yang's fight headlines a six-bout "­Victory at the Venetian" card that also includes fights featuring Hong Kong ­super flyweight fighter Rex Tso (16-0, nine knockouts) and Macao's junior middleweight Ng Kuok Kun (7-0, three knockouts). Yang has built up a loyal fan base in Macao over the past two years with his all-action style of fighting - a style which veteran American promoter Bob Arum of the Top Rank organization on ­Thursday said had resulted in him referring to the fighter as the "Wild Man" - and Yang said he was confident of beating his more seasoned opponent come Saturday.

"All my life I have dreamed of being world champion and now I have my chance to reach that dream," said Yang. "Boxing is growing in China and I want to show my fans something special on Saturday. I want to put on a show for them."

Posted in: Boxing

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