Zhou’s demeanor made it obvious what his approach would be. “You know what he’s going to do, he’s coming straight at you,” shouted Walker’s cornerman Tyler Wombles just before the fight started. He read the situation perfectly - as soon as the bell sounded, Zhou marched forwards to engage with Walker and didn’t stop doing that until the end of the fight.
Styles make fights and this was one of those matches where the styles matched up well. Zhou is a forward-pressure fighter and Walker is a former Golden Gloves amateur boxer who likes to let his opponent walk onto shots then pivot out of harm’s way before the return fire comes.
Playing matador can be an effective strategy but it is also one which requires a lot of energy over the course of a fight, plus complete focus. The fight was a game to see which of them could stay the course over the other.
Wei was the winner.
Despite Walker often leaving him swinging at air or having punches detonate harmlessly on the guard, Wei was single-minded and relentless. He kept coming forward and standing right on top of Walker, letting shots go, and eventually things started to get through.
Walker ate a few big punches and that encouraged Wei, but he couldn’t capitalize on the American’s discomfort. Nonetheless, he had done enough in the first two rounds to make it clear the scoring was going his way.
Sure enough, Walker’s coach called for a different strategy in the third and final round, telling his man to go forward. That led to some heavy firefights and strong exchanges, but Wei was able to continue ploughing forwards and force Walker onto the back foot.
Walker’s tendency to let his hands drop down after throwing in exchanges meant Wei was presented with prime scoring opportunities which he took full advantage of. Watching this fight back, Walker won’t be happy with how he let his hands fall down but he will take some pride in his chin.
Still, while weathering big shots is impressive, it doesn’t win you fights. Landing the bigshots does, and that business was largely conducted by Wei. The stocky Sanda stylist pushed the pace throughout the fight and was rewarded with a unanimous decision victory at the end. It will be interesting to see what comes next for him in the division.