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Rau’shee Warren wants rematch with Zhanat Zhakiyanov


By Jim Dower: After losing a disappointing 12 round split decision to Zhanat Zhakiyanov last Friday night, former WBA World bantamweight champion Rau-shee Warren (14-2, 4 KOs) says he wants a rematch to get even with the Kazakhstan fighter. Warren thinks he should have been given the victory by the three judges.

One judge felt that the 29-year-old Warren had done enough to win the fight, as he scored it 115-111 for Warren. Unfortunately, the other two judges gave it to Zhakiyanov by the scores 116-110 and 115-111 in their fight at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18 KOs) says he’s willing to give Warren a rematch if he wants to, but still feels he did more than enough to beat him last night. Warren started off well in knocking Zhakiyanov down twice in the 1st round, but he couldn’t sustain the effort.

If the fight was just a three-rounder like in the amateur ranks that Warren has spent a lot of time in, then he would have won, but that’s not the way it is in the pro ranks. Zhakiyanov got back into the fight by getting in Warren’s face and hammering him with big power shots that bloodied his nose and drained his energy levels.

By the 6th round, Warren was already looking very tired and not at his best. Zhakiyanov controlled the action by staying close to Warren and hitting him hard to the body and head. Zhakiyanov was missing a lot of his punches, but Warren wasn’t doing anything to show that he deserved to win the rounds following the 1st.

“Man, I won that fight,” he said. “I knocked him down, I was landing the cleaner punches and making him miss. The judges are favoring aggressive fighters even when they ain’t even landing,” said Warren.

Hopefully, Warren has seen the replay of the fight by now to know that he didn’t win.

Zhakiyanov was the better fighter, and the much busier fighter of the two. If Warren wanted to win the fight, he needed to throw more punches and hold a lot less than he did. The holding was frequent by Warren, and it looked like his plan was to tie Zhakiyanov up enough so that he couldn’t get his shots off.

Warren definitely succeeded in limiting the amount of punches that Zhakiyanov threw in the fight, but he wasn’t doing enough on his own to show that he deserved the fight. Warren seemed more intent on slowing down Zhakiyanov;s work rate to a crawl by holding him all night, and getting away with it unfortunately. The referee was very lenient in allowing Warren to bend the rules for 12 rounds without disqualifying him for excessive holding.

“We are grateful that he gave us the opportunity to fight for the world title. It’s an amazing feeling to win that belt. He feels like he won the fight and wants the rematch. We can definitely talk about doing that,” Zhakiyanov said.

Warren should think it over a long time before he agrees to a rematch with Zhakiyanov, because this was a much more one-sided fight than his 12 round split decision loss to Juan Carlos Payano in 2015. Payano wasn’t a big puncher like Zhakiyanov.

It was a lot easier task for Warren to avenge his loss to Payano in 2016 than it will be for him to try and beat the much harder hitting Zhakiyanov. The way that Zhakiyanov fights is like a combination of Ricky Hatton and Gennady Golovkin. That’s a hard style to defeat, because Warren doesn’t have much power. In contrast, Zhakiyanov is a huge puncher with power that would carry to the featherweight division if he wanted to fight in that weight class.

Zhakiyanov is just abnormally strong. Zhakiyanov is massively powerful, and Warren is never going to have the ability to stand and trade with this guy. Zhakiyanov is going to force Warren to battle it out in the rematch if there is one.

Zhakiyanov will make adjustments in the rematch to throw more punches in the clinch than he was last Friday night. Warren able to hold without Zhakiyanov trying to fight his way out of the holding the way that more experienced fighters do. Zhakiyanov’s trainer Ricky Hatton will be sure to teach him how to deal with Warren’s holding in the rematch.

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