Japanese professional boxer and former WBO flyweight world champion Sho Kimura was involved in a cross-border exhibition fight under the boxing rules in Wuhan, China.
Sho Kimura was kicked and taken down with a wrestling move by Chinese web celebrity fighter Xuan Wu. After Kimura got thrown, face down on the mat by a single-leg shot from Xuan Wu, Kimura’s corner rushed to the ring and threw in the towel. After that Xuan Wu was declared the winner. This has caused a great deal of controversy in both China and Japan’s martial art communities.
Sho Kimura used to work as a part-time wine delivery worker but has since made a name for himself on the China boxing scene after beating Chinese Olympic champion Zou Shiming to be crowned as WBO flyweight world champion in 2017.
However, he fell out of favor after losing to Tsunari Tanaka in 2018 and is now making a living by taking professional fights or exhibition fights.
Xuan Wu, on the other hand, is a lesser-known web celebrity kickboxer and a former sanda fighter. He earned records in several amateur tournaments and has mostly been known for his social media hype in recent years like calling out Yi Long for a fight.
Xuan Wu is 180cm tall and weighs about 10 kilograms (22 lbs) more than Kimura who is 15cm shorter. The fight between the two men was, quoting M23 (a Chinese professional boxing team) an “exhibition match” under “boxing rules”. In the pre-fight “tough talk” segment, Xuan Wu also shouted at Sho Kimura in a video, “I’m going to beat you on your boxing rules this time.”
Leaks from weibo user:格斗迷-青春 confirmed that after the match, referee Zhang Xu explained he was verbally informed the match was “Chinese Kung Fu vs Japanese Boxing” and that wrestling moves were allowed.
He also revealed it wasn’t until half an hour before the start that he was verbally informed of the rules and was given no written details or terms, let alone clear restrictions on wrestling.
Sho Kimura also said that boxing rules were on the terms of the pre-fight contract, and that both men were wearing boxing gear when they entered the ring. His assistant said he was informed of the rule change after the fight was already over.
Xuan Wu wore the national flag to celebrate the victory. He put up the clip of the fight on his Wechat account and titled it “Chinese power.” In the following response to the criticism comments, Xuanwu clamored with tinge of nationalism，“Do you still need rules for China to fight Japan? I can’t sleep if he doesn’t die! It seems that there are still many Chinese traitors supporting Japs. This is China, forever China.”