Ghana’s Fredrick Lawson moved safely into the next round of the WBC World Invitational Tournament with a 10-round unanimous decision win over China’s Baishanbo Nasiyiwula.
Lawson (27-1, 20 KOs) controlled the action from the opening bell, using his jab and an accurate right to keep Nasiyiwula at bay. Nasiyiwula took this fight on days’ notice but was game throughout.
Lawson dominated the first with a steady jab mixed in with combinations. But Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6 KOs) landed several clean shots during the stanza.
A beautiful, short counter right snapped Nasiyiwula’s head back in the second. Lawson was clearly the more polished of the two, but the game Nasiyiwula continued to press forward. He had pockets of success in the fifth, maneuvering Lawson toward the ropes and unloading.
Nasiyiwula remained the aggressor for much of the second half of the bout. Even so, Lawson was as sharp on his backfoot as he was coming forward. In close range, he was able to counter effectively. At a distance, his steady jab and well-placed rights racked up points. Nasiyiwula never stopped coming forward, at times pinning Lawson against the ropes, but seldom landing more than a handful of shots each round.
Three judges had it 98-92, while the other two scored it 97-93.
“I have to give credit to my opponent,” Lawson said afterward. “I wish him all the best in his career. He is tough. But just not on my level.”
Asked to assess his performance, Lawson responded, “If I was teacher grading myself, I would score a 10 out of 100. I have to continue to climb higher and continue to get better.”
Lawson has now won three in a row since ending a 16-month layoff in March 2017. The 28-year-old welter is the third seed in this eight-man tournament. He now moves to the quarterfinals of the tournament against an opponent to be determined.