By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum predicts that former two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur flyweight champion Zou Shiming of China will face reigning WBO/WBA champion Brian Viloria in a title fight "sometime next year."
Arum was guest on the popular Melbourne SEN Radio weekly boxing show "Ringside" hosted by well-known promoter Peter Maniatis and colleague Mark Fine and revealed that celebrated trainer Freddie Roach who trains Zou at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles told him Zou "will be a major world champion within a year."
The Top Rank promoter said Viloria "can retain his championship and Zou progresses which means Brian will defend his title sometime next year and it will be by far the biggest payday in Brian's career."
In a major buildup of the popular Chinese fighter Arum said "When we first made a deal to sign Zou Shiming – we didn’t quite really know how good he was despite his great Olympic background. He is really phenomenal."
The astute Top Rank promoter said that over a four round bout "I will match him (Zou)with anybody in the world up to bantamweight." He noted that professional boxing is of course a twelve round bout "and so we have to make sure he can go the full twelve rounds at full speed."
In one of the biggest purses for a four round bout featuring a fighter's pro debut, Arum confirmed Zou Shiming is receiving a purse of $300,000 which he justified by pointing out that Zou "is one of the legendary boxers out of China" which is a vast country of some 1.4 billion people with a growing interest in boxing.
Arum disclosed that his Macau card will be telecast all over China and is expected to reach a record-breaking audience of 200 million. He also mentioned that millions more would watch the telecasts on ABS-CBN Channel 2 and Studio 23 as well as The Filipino Channel which has a large audience especially in the Middle East.
ABS-CBN vice president for Sports Peter Musngi said the Viloria title defense against Juan Francisco Estrada and No.1 ranked Milan Melindo's clash with Tommy Seran of Indonesia will be telecast over Channel 2 on S und ay at 10:15 a.m. with a replay of both fights as well as the fights of Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr and Dave Penalosa and the Zou Shiming pro debut against Eleazar Valenzuela on Studio 23 in the afternoon of Sunday.