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: McGregor Drills Mayweather - It'll Be Good For Boxing Badou Jack Wants Adonis Stevenson After Nathan Cleverly Shot Fury: 'I'm a Fat Bastard;' Says He Must Lose 100-Plus Pounds Canelo On Chavez: He Didn't Try to Win; You Have to Have Balls! Mikey Garcia Wants Linares, Lomachenko or Pacquiao in The Fall Daily Bread Mailbag: Ward-Kovalev II Ending, Canelo-VADA, More Andre Dirrell vs. Jose Uzcategui Rematch Ordered By The IBF Arum Feels Horn Will Become Major Star After Pacquiao Fight De La Hoya: Canelo vs. Golovkin is a Trilogy Type of Fight Canelo: Big Difference Between Me and The Guys Golovkin KO'd Manny Pacquiao - Nothing To Prove, Not Much To Lose Horn's Trainer: Secret 10-Point Plan in Place To Beat Pacquiao Pacquiao: McGregor Not Compatible With Boxing - He Won't Win Lomachenko's Manager Responds Back To Team Rigondeaux Shane Mosley Jr. Motivated To Impress on Pacquiao-Horn Card Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury Now in Manchester, September 23 Fortune: Plain and Simple - Horn Has No Shot To Beat Pacquiao! Team Rigondeaux on Lomachenko: We're Calling Your 130 Bluff! Photos: Tomasz Adamek Returns, Defeats Solomon Haumono Duran: If McGregor is Serious, He'll Break Mayweather's Legs Rigondeaux Wants Lomachenko at 126, Worried He'll Go To 135 Omar Chavez Wants To Get His Hands on Antonio Margarito Roach: I Have Not Seen This Manny Pacquiao in Seven Years! Pacquiao: I've Never Been This Motivated, Fired Up For a Fight! Loeffler: Canelo-GGG, Mayweather-McGregor Both Will Do Well Lomachenko's Manager Dares Rigondeaux: Come Up To 130! Broner Trainer: Garcia Is 'No Marcos Maidana, No Shawn Porter' Light Heavy Holds, Burnett Enters at 118: BScene Ratings Update Buatsi Confident Joshua Will Guide Him Proper To a World Title Carlos Negron Drops Derric Rossy Twice, Stops Him in Four Anthony Fowler Eager To Improve Despite Second Win Manny Pacquiao: Horn is No Easy Fight, He's a Tough Opponent Hopkins Rips Mayweather: Shows a Lack of Respect For Boxing! Golovkin-Canelo and the Allure of Exclusivity Javier Fortuna Crushes Mario Beltre in Two Rounds Carlos Diaz Stays on Track, Decisions Sergio Puente Over Ten BJ Flores Dominates Nick Guivas, Wants Bigger Fight Golovkin: Everyone Knows Saunders is Not Serious, He's a Clown Tyrone Brunson Gets Off The Mat To Blast Out Kermit Cintron Santa Cruz's Father Wants Interim-Bout Before Mares Rematch
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement