Popular Chinese Olympian Zou Shiming said he was eyeing up a world title after he won his debut professional fight on Saturday, defeating little-known Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela on a unanimous points decision in Macau.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time amateur world champion emerged from a tight contest over four rounds, all three judges giving him victory 40-36. Zou reportedly pocketed $US 300,000 ($A289,000) for his night's work.
No Chinese boxer has been as successful as Zou, 31, in the amateur ranks and his eagerly anticipated professional debut, in a sport once banned in China under Mao Zedong, was expected to draw hundreds of millions of television viewers in China.
The "Fists of Gold" night at the opulent The Venetian resort-hotel in Macau, the gambling enclave close to Hong Kong which attracts China's high-rollers, saw United States promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank bring the razzmatazz of US boxing to China.
"Taking part in a professional fight is really a new experience. As a rookie though it's only a four-rounder, but as a rookie that's how you get started," the flyweight Zou, who had few marks to his face, said afterwards.
"Hopefully it will be from four rounds to six and to eight, and to the championship," he added, via an interpreter.
"I want to thank China as the country that has supported me, and supported my success in the Olympics. It doesn't matter where I go, I will always be Chinese."
"It was a great fight for him. There's something very different between amateur and professional fights," said Freddie Roach, the celebrated trainer who has taken Zou under his wing and has had him training in the United States.
"He did revert back to his amateur style at various points, but he will get better and better in his pro style and I think we have a future world champion on our hands."
Arum, who says he wants to have more top-class boxing in Macau, most likely this summer, added of Zou's big debut on the world stage: "I thought it was great.
"I've been in boxing a long time and I know what happens. Usually you take the kid and put him in with low-grade opponents.
"I couldn't do that here because it would have been a slap in the face to The Venetian and the people in China."
Tags: Bob Arum , Freddie Roach , Zou Shiming