Neeraj Goyat defended his WBC Asia Welterweight title with a hard-fought win against the higher-ranked, more-experienced Allan Tanada, that was ultimately decided unanimously in his favour by the judges – 119-109, 119-109, 118-110.
With both boxers going hard at each other from round one, there were no signs of either of them letting the title slip right until the very end, but Goyat led on points for pretty much most of the fight. The 25-year-old kept egging the crowd on through the fight, frequently taunting his opponent with his guard down and when it mattered, landed the punches.
The highlight of the bout was towards the end of the 11th round when Goyat, pushed to the ropes. expertly dodged a serious of attempted punches by Tanada.
The 25-year-old boxer from Haryana, Goyat made his professional debut in 2011 against Gou Wen Dong in China. Coming into this title defence, he had fought 12 bouts (71 rounds in all) under his belt and had eight wins, two defeats and two draws. The Indian had first won the belt by defeating Australian Ben Kite in October last year. In 2016, he had won bronze medal in the AIBA Pro Boxing Olympic qualifier.
Goyat’s opponent, Tanada who made his debut in the year 2008, was fighting his 25th bout (15 wins, including seven KO’s) and was ranked 258th in welterweight category globally, compared to the Indian’s 330. This win will come as a shot in the arm for young Goyat, who signed off from the stage saying, “India se ek nahi, paanch Mike Tyson nikhalega” (there won’t be one, but five Mike Tysons emerging from India soon.)