Jiawei Zhang of China beat defending champion Khedafi Djelkhir to claim the APB bantamweight title ©APB

China’s Jiawei Zhang produced a superb display to claim the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Pro Boxing World Championship bantamweight title with a unanimous victory over defending champion Khedafi Djelkhir of France on home soil in Foshan.

In front of a raucous crowd inside the packed-out Foshan Nanhai Gymnasium, Zhang was able to impress all three judges in a fight where both competitors went on the attack almost from the off.

The Chinese boxer, clearly inspired by the noise and the atmosphere generated by the partisan spectators, found his length early on as he dominated the opening three rounds, with the Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist firmly on the back foot.

It took until five rounds for the Frenchman to really announce himself in the fight after a torrid opening where Zhang landed constant shots to both his head and body.

Djelkhir showed his mettle, however, as he kept himself in the bout, thanks largely to tightening up his defences, and took advantage when Zhang began to tire.

Beijing 2008 silver medallist Khedafi Djelkhir of France was outclassed during the fight as he surrendered his grip on the bantamweight title
Beijing 2008 silver medallist Khedafi Djelkhir of France was outclassed by China’s Jiawei Zhangas he surrendered his grip on the bantamweight title ©Getty Images

Djelkhir won both the fifth and six rounds on the judges’ scorecards before Zhang stormed back to take the seventh, finding the form which had seen him dominate the early stages of the fight.

He continued to land tough blows to Djelkhir’s body but the Frenchman refused to give in, pulling another round back by claiming the eighth.

That proved to be his last success of the bout as Zhang found a second wind and seized control of the fight once again, despite moving into unchartered territory as he had never gone beyond eight rounds before.

By the 12th and final period, Djelkhir was showing signs of desperation, knowing only a knockout would hand him an unlikely win, but Zhang kept his cool to earn the verdict.

Related stories
September 2015: Bin Lyu and Misha Aloian retain APB World Championship boxing titles with stunning performances
July 2015: Rio 2016 quota places up for grabs in upcoming AIBA Pro Boxing bouts
June 2015: Azerbaijan's Medzhidov claims AIBA Pro Boxing Cycle I Round 1 victory at expense of home favourite
May 2015: Home favourite Tojibaev earns victory as AIBA Pro Boxing Cycle I Round 1 begins in Uzbekistan
May 2015: AIBA hail "thrilling moment" as Pro Boxing first round action poised to begin