Vietnam has named an imposing line up for their battle with a crack Australian squad at the Victory 8 Fight Night in HCMC November 3rd.
The Vietnam Boxing Federation (VBF), which administer to the successful running of the amateur version of the sport, have managed to lure some of the most talented boxers in the country for this historic event to be conducted under professional rules.
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by local promoter VSP Boxing. “We are super excited by the depth of talent in this Vietnam team, which have a huge challenge in store against an International squad loaded with national amateur and professional champions.”
Headlining for Australia will be unbeaten wunderkid Mateo Tapia and 3x world champion Gretchen Abaniel. VSP Boxing spokesman Mr. Lim Song said it was a major coup to secure boxers of such high calibre and bring them to the country for the first time.
“I’m a huge fan of Tapia and Abaniel. I have seen Gretchen Abaniel fight live in China and Korea and she hits fast and hard! Mateo Tapia is a freak. To do what he has done and he’s only 20 is quite amazing. He is definitely world class potential.”
Gretchen Abaniel matches up with national champion Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi whilst Mateo Tapia faces dangerous SEA Games winner Truong Dinh Huong in the main event. To add to the interest that these two showdowns are already creating, and in recognition of the task facing the local fighters, VSP Boxing has placed a bounty on the heads of the Aussie stars.
“VSP Boxing is offering 400,000,00 dong ($20,000USD) to the Vietnamese warriors if they can conquer their opponents in these two bouts. This is the biggest prize ever offered in Vietnam, and believe me, we are more than happy to pay it!”
The Australian team will fly to Saigon next Tuesday in early preparation for the Victory 8 Fight Night. The talented young boxers are under the expert tutelage of Tony Del Vecchio and Tommy Mercuri.
The two trainers are amongst the most respected in the industry. Del Vecchio won a world title in Japan recently with stable star TJ Doheny, whilst Mercuri is former trainer of international star Lenny Zappavigna. When told of the bounty placed on his top fighters’ heads, Del Vecchio was unfazed.
“We train hard, and we train our fighters to be champions. All these kids have skills – and they all know how to dig deep and go to war! Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely excited to see Vietnam for the first time and we know the big challenge that lies ahead.”
When questioned on the subject of the Vietnamese opponents he was circumspect “The job of coach Tommy Mercuri and myself is to give each of our team a solid preparation and game plan.
“We don’t want to elaborate publicly on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. I will say this though, from what i have seen, the Viet fighters are very strong and exciting to watch.” But when pushed on the topic, and asked had he been impressed by any members of this Vietnam team he offered “Clearly Truong Dinh Hoang and Nguyen This Tam are quality.
TDH is a smart boxer that has timing, great chin and heavy hands. Nguyen Thi Tam medalled at ASIAD then won well in Budapest. She is fast and has a great work rate. But this Nguyen Van Duong – man, this kid has got me worried!” Tommy Mercuri interjected “ Nguyen Van Duong is dangerous.
The kid is 56kg and is a beast! He is fast, he is strong – he can easily go pro! In fact I will go as far to say, if Vietnam legalises professional boxing, Nguyen Van Duong is maybe the hottest talent in the country!” High praise indeed from two world class trainers.
The full fight card for the event held at the Nguyen Du Stadium on Saturday November 3rd is:
Jayden Buan v Pham Duc Doan
Jye Lane Taylor v Nguyen Ngoc Hai
Tommy Mercuri v Vu Than Dat
Mickey Pengue v Tran Duc Tho
Gretchen Abaniel v Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi
Kamil Syed v Nguyen Van Duong
Linn Sandstrom v Nguyen Thi Tam
Mateo Tapia v Truong Dinh Hoang