By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who is putting on a blockbuster fight card at the Cotai Arena of the luxurious Venetian Resort Hotel in Macau on Saturday plans to have WBO/WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria defend his title in future fights in Asia.
With by far the biggest breakthrough promotion in tapping the vast Chinese market, Arum said that Viloria who battles Mexican warrior Juan Francisco Estrada in the main event of the “Pinoy Power” series telecast over ABS-CBN Channel 2 on Sunday morning as well as The Filipino Channel and a replay on Studio 23 said he plans to have Viloria “very often on these Asian cards.”
The attraction for the Chinese fans is clearly two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur flyweight champion Zou Shiming who is trained by the celebrated Freddie Roach.
Arum told us that “obviously a Viloria-Zou Shiming fight is something that as a promoter is always at the back of our minds.”
He said “if he (Viloria) retains his championship and as Zou Shiming progresses-and it looks like he’s going to progress – sometime next year Brian will defend his title against Zou and it will be by far the biggest payday in Viloria’s career.”
Viloria who has been sparring with Zou Shiming at Roach’s Wild Card gym in Los Angeles said the former amateur champion “is quite quick-fisted but doesn’t have much power” although that was expected because of Zou’s amateur background.
However, Viloria did say that Zou Shiming has “great foot speed and ring generalship but has to get his bearings as a pro, first” which is what Roach is working on.
Arum who is paying Zou a record-breaking $300,000 purse for a four-round pro debut is clearly looking at him as an investment. He wants to promote Zou’s professional career and build him up as a future superstar because in the view of Arum “he is extremely marketable.”
Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN told us from Macau that Viloria looked sharp and ready in a workout on the punch-mitts with Roach’s assistant, Filipino Marvin Somodio and couldn’t wait to get into the ring and go after Estrada in what he promised us would be an action-packed battle against an opponent whom he described as a typical Mexican warrior.