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Xu Can wins China's first ever WBA title

(Xinhua)    07:23, January 28, 2019

Xu Can became China's first World Boxing Association (WBA) champion, defeating Jesus Rojas of Puerto Rico by unanimous decision to take the WBA featherweight title after an action-packed 12 rounds on Saturday.

"This is my dream since childhood, this is the dream of my father, I have it today!" said an ebullient Xu after his victory.

Defending champion Rojas sought to control the pace of the fight but his punches were often neutralized by Xu. The Puerto Rican launched several body attacks after round 10, but Xu kept his own rhythm and never slowed his action.

In the end, Xu prevailed over Rojas with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 118-110 to become China's youngest world professional boxing champion. The victory also made him the youngest WBA featherweight champion in 10 years.

"This power comes from China!" exclaimed Xu, to the delight of the many Chinese fans in the arena. Xu has long been regarded as one of China's most talented boxers, after former WBO flyweight champion Zou Shiming and ex-WBC minimum-weight winner Xiong Chaozhong.

"Before I came here, I knew it was going to be a very hard fight. So I got ready for this fight. I did a lot of work for this," Xu said on his win. "I respect my opponent, Rojas, my friend, he is very tough. But I knew I can win. I am Can, I can!"

Born in China's Jiangxi Province, Xu began boxing at 16, and soon dreamed of winning world titles.

"Ever since I started boxing, I dreamed about lifting the golden belt. Today, that dream has come true," he said. "But I will not stop here. This belt is not the finish line, but a starting point. There are so many stronger rivals waiting ahead."

Before this fight, Xu had a record of 15-2, including two knockouts. He has been training with famed coach Pedro Diaz in Miami since January 11. Before his trip to the United States, Xu trained with Filipino boxing star Genesis Servania at Beijing's M23 boxing club.

Before leaving for the United States last December, Xu said in Beijing that he was ready for the fight. "Since I learned that I can challenge for a golden belt, I am telling myself I can," he said. "I believe I can bring this golden belt back to China."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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