Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Holyfield Feels Chinese Heavyweight Can Become Champ

By Keith Idec

Zhang Zhilei hasn’t boxed a single round as a professional prizefighter, but one of the most accomplished heavyweights in boxing history sees real potential in the huge Chinese prospect.

Four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield feels the 6-foot-6, 259-pound Zhilei is skilled enough to become his enormous nation’s first heavyweight champion.

“We feel that he has the heart, we feel he has the size, we feel that he has everything that’s necessary to be [a heavyweight champion],” said Holyfield, an adviser and goodwill ambassador for Dynasty Boxing, Zhilei’s promoter. “The honest thing you have to tell him is he has to want to be it. If he wants to be it, he’ll be it. … If he does the right things, there’s no reason he won’t be successful.”

The retired Holyfield, 51, is mentoring Zhilei, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist who is trained in Paterson, N.J., by Paterson’s Joe Grier and Harold Knight, of Plainfield, N.J. Zhilei, of Henan, China, is scheduled to make his pro debut Friday night against Oakland, Tenn.’s Curtis Lee Tate (7-4, 6 KOs). Their four-round fight will open an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” telecast (9 p.m. ET) from Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, Nev.

The Zhilei-Tate fight also will be televised live in China, where Zhilei already is a national celebrity. Holyfield will help lead the 31-year-old Zhilei into the ring.

“I do believe I will make a lot of progress and I will learn a lot from Evander, mentally and physically,” said Zhilei, a technically sound southpaw who moved to the United States in March to begin training for his pro debut. “I watched his fights growing up. I was really inspired and my dream was to become a fighter like him.”

ESPN2’s tripleheader will be headlined by a 10-round junior-middleweight match between Cleveland’s Willie Nelson (22-1-1, 13 KOs) and Mexico’s Luis Grejada (17-2-2, 13 KOs). In the co-featured fight, Hungarian super middleweight prospect Norbert Nemesapati (14-0, 13 KOs) is set to square off against Jason Escalera (14-2-1, 12 KOs), of Union City, N.J., in an eight-rounder.

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tobi.G on 08-09-2014

The guy is 31 so he has to be real talented to rise to the top verry quickly. He was a good Amateur but not a great one. I doubt they can build him up as fast as Rigondeaux or…

Comment by hugh grant on 08-08-2014

A Chinese can probably will become heavyweight champ one day if they take it seriously, but I don't think its this guy. Hes 31 already, he better get a move on, and fasttrack this guy, or he'll be the new…

Comment by Beercules on 08-08-2014

[QUOTE=Kulilin;14837048]I came in to post about he's big but looked slow and stiff in his debut, apparently I'm not the only one surprised there are 2 Chinese heavyweights.[/QUOTE] :lol1: at least I'm not alone. [QUOTE=-MAKAVELLI-;14837036]i swear the Chinese made this…

Comment by Accountoffline on 08-08-2014

I doubt he can become champ, He would lose to Joshua tomorrow, and again in 5years. Also even the likes of Chagaev would make him look poor. Hope im wrong though, would be good to a see a Chinese HW…

Comment by Lou Cipher on 08-08-2014

Holyfield also believes that he himself could beat both Klitchko's and David Haye all on the same night.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (25)
Top Headlines Tyson Fury Has Some Work, Could Reclaim License Next Month Sadam Ali Wants to Stay at 154 Pounds, Defend WBO Title Next Arum: Will Take 'Real Ballsy 130-Pounder' to Fight Lomachenko Kell Brook: My Injuries Were Legit - Rigondeaux Just Quit! Horn Overcomes Cuts to Bloody, Stop Corcoran in 11th Round Parker's Trainer: We Made Compromise - Up To Joshua To Agree! Lee Selby Inks Three-Fight Deal With Frank Warren UK News: Ohara Davies, David Allen, Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas Alex Leapai To Appeal Technical Draw: Lenny Z, Paul Fleming Win Team Hammer Smile at UKAD Ruling To Reverse Tyson Fury Loss Melindo Vows To Take Down Ryoichi Taguchi in Unification Bout De La Hoya: I Don't Think Anything Can Stop Canelo-GGG Deal Video: Kell Brook Discusses His Ring Return, Injuries, More Caleb Truax: I Worked My Ass Off - Everything Came Together Corcoran to Horn: This Isn't a Head-Butting Contest; Fight Fair! WBA: Rigondeaux Will Be Stripped After Loss To Lomachenko! Photos: Cletus Seldin, Antoine Douglas, O'Sullivan Workouts Video: Billy Joe Saunders Aims To Box Lemieux's Ears Off Haymon Boxing: DeGale Does Have Rematch Clause For Truax Photos: David Lemieux Training For Promised KO of Saunders Lomachenko Manager: Preference is To Unify at 130 Photos: Billy Joe Saunders Putting in Work For David Lemieux Video: David Lemieux Very Pumped To Face Billy Joe Saunders Arum: Dates in March, April on Hold For Crawford's Title Fight Photos: Lucas Matthysse, Mercito Gesta - Los Angeles Presser Mayweather Claims UFC Approached Him With Multi-Fight Deal Crawford Trainer: 'Boatload of Money' to Fight Horn in Australia Skoglund Update, Dimitrenko-Rovcanin Set, Murat News, More News: Clestus Seldin, Efren Lopez, HBO's Fight Game, More Edis Tatli Regains Euro Title, Decisions Francesco Patera Hearn on DeGale: When You Are Free Agent, Nobody Gives a F***! Fury To Joshua: Where You at Boy? No One Blocking My Path Now! HBO's Tripleheader Peaked at 618,000 Viewers Saturday Night Shohjahon Ergashev vs. Sonny Fredrickson on ShoBox, Jan. 12 Carlos Cuadras vs. McWilliams Arroyo on Superfly 2, Feb. 24 Rigondeaux's Left Hand Bruised, Not Broken, in Lomachenko Loss Amir Khan Will Scout Jeff Horn: I'd Go To Australia To Fight Him Photos: Katie Taylor vs. Jessica McCaskill, Undercard - Weigh-In ESPN’s Loma-Rigo Watched By 1.73M; Basic Cable’s No. 2 Since 2012 Tyson Fury Free To Box After UKAD Ruling
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement