MACAU, CHINA – Good Morning Mr. and Mrs. Boxing Fan and all the ships at sea, let’s go to press...
ZOUMANITY. World championship boxing returns to The Venetian Macao’s® CotaiArena™ This Saturday! July 27. HBO 2 will be televising the return of flyweight Zou Shiming (1-0), China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist, making his six-round debut, to the U.S., beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/PT. Calling the action from ringside will be broadcasting icons Tim Ryan and Larry Merchant and two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman. Trained by Hall of Famer World-Famous Freddie Roach, Shiming will be facing Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs), of México. The HBO 2-televised card will also feature two world championship fights – WBO/WBA flyweight champion JUAN ESTRADA 22-2, 17 KOs), makes his first defense of the title he won by dethroning Brian Viloria, against undefeated No. 1 contender MILAN MELINDO (28-0, 11 KOs), of the Philippines, and undefeated IBF featherweight champion EVEGNY GRADOVICH (16-0, 8 KOs), of Russia, defends his title against No. 1 contender MAURCIO MUÑOZ (26-3, 12 KOs), of Argentina...
HEAVY DUTY. Undefeated heavyweight contenders ANDY RUIZ of México and JOE HANKS of Los Angeles, who boast a combined record of 40-0 (27 KOs), go mano a mano for 10 rounds for the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight crown. Their fight will be televised Saturday evening at Midnight ET / 11 p.m. PT as the main event of Solo Boxeo Tecate on UniMás…
RUSSIAN DRESSING. Known as the “Mexican Russian,” Evgeny Gradovich, a native of Russia who trains in Oxnard, Calif. with Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia, is known for wearing a ring uniform that combines the colors of mother Russia and México, complete with a sombrero.
“I have adopted a Méxican style of fighting – aggressive. I know what the fans want to see and I want the fans to like my fights. My favorite fighters are Méxican…Chávez, Márquez, Morales and Barrera. I’ve been taking Spanish lessons so I can speak to my fans. Winning my title has been a blessing. It allowed me to get Green Card and soon I will be able to bring my wife and daughter to the U.S. to live with me. After all, no money, no honey. Muñoz has good experience and is a legitimate No. 1 contender. He can fight. I think he’s a dirty fighter. He throws low blows and punches behind the head. I’ll slip those punches and move around to counter his tactics.”
JUAN FOR THE MONEY. Unified flyweight champion Juan Estrada returns to the the CotaiArena where he defeated Brian Viloria to capture the WBO/WBA titles in April in his first title defense.
“I’ve been sacrificing for my career since I was 15. I come from a small town near Hermosillo, México called Puerto Peñasco and I was the first one from there to win a world title. When I returned after winning the title a lot of my townspeople met me at the airport and gave me a parade in town. I rode around in a fire truck. When I landed, one of the first calls of congratulations came from Juan Manuel Márquez. He told me that his palms were sweating while watching the fight and he was rooting hard for me.
”I was not surprised I beat Viloria. I trained really hard for that fight. I think I beat him because I had better technique and talent, not because of my youth. I’m a proud Méxican fighter. My favorite fighters are Julio César Chávez and Márquez. They inspire me.”
IT’S “CHILD’S PLAY” FOR MUÑOZ. No. 1 IBF flyweight contender Mauricio Muñoz earned his nickname “Chuckie” from his neighborhood pals as a kid. They all thought he had the tenacious style of the demonic doll “Chuckie” from the cult movie classic “Child’s Play.”
“This is a huge opportunity for me. I come from a mining town in Argentina. I used to work in the gold mines to supplement my boxing income. When I fight on Saturday night my town will show it on a big screen in the central community center.
“I don’t know what Gradovich is talking about. I am not a dirty fighter and the referee never admonished me for dirty tactics. I have a lot of respect for Gradovich. He is a good champion. But I am confident in my abilities in this fight. I will be mining for gold when the bell rings to start the fight.”
ORTEGA IS WELL-SEASONED. Jesus Ortega, a stablemate of Estrada’s, is ready for his big test.
“I was selected as Zou’s opponent because everyone thinks I’m going to lose. I’m going to win this fight and don’t be surprised if it’s by knockout. I took this fight because it is on international TV….HBO. I will be very aggressive against Zou and throw a lot of punches. I’m going to win. I’m going to exploit my size advantage. I’m so glad to be here.”
RIVALS. Undefeated No. 1 contender Milan Melindo is glad to be facing Estrada instead of Viloria.
“México and the Philippines have a terrific rivalry in boxing. I’d rather be fighting a Méxican rather than a countryman [Viloria] in my first world title shot. I’m very excited to be fighting in front of Manny Pacquiao. I’m not worried about what Estrada has planned, I’m only concerned about executing my game plan.”
ZOU II. Zou Shiming’s second pro fight is expected to bring a big improvement over his pro debut.
“In my first fight I was very excited. I wanted to please the fans. This time I want to please my trainer Freddie Roach. I had reverted to some bad habits in my April debut but that won’t happen this time. We worked on sitting down more on my punches. I’m going to be more aggressive and not revert back to my amateur habits. I’m enjoying fighting in a pro style. Freddie has me working on the left hook to the body This time I will try to keep my emotions in check I want to live up to everyone’s expectations. Freddie has me believing in myself.”