Xiong Zhao Zhong Discusses Career, Pacquiao, More

Xiong Zhao Zhong, China's first professional world boxing champion, has been busy preparing himself for a momentous year of the snake.

"This will be my best year," he said. "I was born in 1982 in the year of the dog and everyone knows that snakes fear dogs and I'm a boxing dog."

Xiong spoke while taking a short break in a two-hour hit-out at Bangkok's 13 Coins Gym.

"My manager Liu Gang wanted me to train away from the Chinese New Year celebrations," he said.

"I told him that I'm from the dog zodiac and he didn't have to worry. It's good to be in Thailand and I'm ready to take on any challenger this year.

"Any snakes will have to watch out as dog boxers don't back off from a fight."

Since he won the WBC minimumweight title last October, against Mexican Javier Martinez Redendiz at the Kunming City Stadium, Xiong has become a superstar and was greeted by 15,000 cheering fans when he returned to his village.

While that was a great honour for him, there were other highlights since his historic victory that stick in his mind.

"Meeting Muhammad Ali in Cancun last December was something I'll never forget," he said.

"We looked each other in the eyes and we just knew that there's nothing greater than being a world boxing champion."

After presenting a Chinese painting to Ali, Xiong went to Las Vegas to witness Manny Pacquiao get knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.

"Next to Ali, I admired Pacquiao most, and to see him get knocked out made me realize that a boxer's days of glory are short-lived," Xiong explained.

"So I'm going to make the most of this snake year and do my best so there's no regrets."

Xiong's will have a voluntary defence of his world title in Las Vegas on April 13.

China's Yunnan TV executives and his manager Liu Gang are staging the event with promoter Gary Shaw, with a live broadcast to China and other countries.

His title defence in Las Vegas is important, as Chinese boxing fans have been urging Xiong to embrace international fame and fight opponents from outside Asia.

He has been approached by Thais Wanheng Menayothin and Pigmy Kokietgym, the Philippines' top-ranked contender Devon Cuello (Singwangcha) and a bunch of Mexican fighters such as Juan Hernandez, Raul Garcia and Jose Alfredo Zungia.

Negotiations fell through with South African Hekkie Budler, who wasn't available for a title shot in the US and now the match-makers are turning to Panama's boxers Walter Tello and Carlos Carlos Ortego.

Xiong's next fight will be in Las Vegas and is likely to set an all-time record for the number of people watching a boxing match in China.

The audience in China is expected to be more than 200 million with several other countries booked to receive the live telecast.

Xiong, now a professional boxer for seven years, said he is aware that there are more than a billion sports fans in China who are following his career.

"There are great expectations, but I am happy knowing that I am becoming a better boxer," he said.

"From the first time I stepped into the ring to fight, I knew that I was fulfilling my destiny.

"It's a big responsibility but that makes me stronger. Boxers have to believe in their ability to overcome the best efforts of their opponents."

Xiong said he was proud to have risen up from his village community to become China's first world champion boxer.

"I know that I won't always be a world champion, but knowing that makes me want to make the most of what I have," he said.

"That means I need to keep on improving to keep on winning. I have learnt from several boxing trainers.

"I know my strength and am overcoming my weaknesses. It's a tough sport."

Xiong said he is looking forward to fighting his China rival, Zou Shiming, who won his second successive Olympic gold medal by beating Thailand's Kaew Pongprayoon in London last year.

Zou will have his first professional fight on promoter Bob Arum's event in Macau on April 6.

"All of China wants to see me fight Zou and I hope that this fight can be arranged soon," Xiong said.

Xiong with Shaw and Zou with Arum, in their respective corners, would make great viewing and signal to the world that China has come of age in international boxing.

Meanwhile, Xiong is looking forward to returning to China and his calligraphy, a painting art form that emphasises life as energy in motion.

Xiong sees his calligraphy as "yin painting the yang dog".

"It's my secret weapon," said Xiong, who holds high hopes that the year ahead will further improve his impressive record of 20-4-1 (11KOs).

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by SceneSpectator! on 02-19-2013

Well, your name remains obscured at Straw weight. Since you are a champion then your list of possible opponents should be at least belongs to the top 10 in the division, instead of ambitioning to fight an up-comer who had…

Comment by liuj88 on 02-19-2013

[QUOTE=BIGPOPPAPUMP;13053425]Xiong Zhao Zhong, China's first professional world boxing champion, has been busy preparing himself for a momentous year of the snake. "This will be my best year," he said. "I was born in 1982 in the year of the dog…

Comment by komandante on 02-19-2013

Then fight Denver Cuello if you're a dog who doesn't backout from fight..:popcorn:

Comment by swinepig on 02-19-2013

[QUOTE=BIGPOPPAPUMP;13053425]Xiong Zhao Zhong, China's first professional world boxing champion, has been busy preparing himself for a momentous year of the snake. "This will be my best year," he said. "I was born in 1982 in the year of the dog…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
Top Headlines Marrero vs. Zambrano Talks Progress As Purse Bid Looms Klitschko's Manager Says Unfinished Contract Led To 2017 Jump Video: Oscar De La Hoya on Schaefer's Return, Hopkins, More Photos: Bernard Hopkins, Joe Smith Jr. - Face To Face at Presser Anthony Mundine, Danny Green Rematch Set For February 3 Video: Bernard Hopkins, Joe Smith - Go Face To Face Video: Bernard Hopkins Breaks Down Joe Smith Showdown Arum on Parker vs. Ruiz Possibly Heading To The United States Joshua-Klitschko Eyed For March, April at Principality Stadium Vanes Martirosyan: I’m Not Happy With Al Haymon, My Promoter Josh Hernandez Inks Promotional With Warriors Boxing Hearn Looks Ahead For Joshua, Hoping For Klitschko in 2017 Manny Pacquiao Noncommittal on Fighting Beyond November 5 Monaghan vs. Boesel, Abraham vs. Krasniqi WBO Eliminators Wladimir Klitschko Out Of December 10 Fight With Injury Andre Ward: My Skills Never Left, I'm Feeling Better Than Ever LaRon Mitchell Drops, Decisions Scott Alexander in Ontario Photos: Marco Huck, Dmytro Kucher Size Up at Hannover Presser Anthony Ogogo Suffered Broken Eye Socket in Cunningham Loss Kovalev Hopes To Become The P4P Best With Win Over Ward Donaire Spars Twelve Hard Rounds With Chocolatito's Cousin Joseph Parker's Coach: I Really Like Andy Ruiz's Style For Us Trainer: Smith's Pressure, Power Will Take Care of Bernard Hopkins Lemieux Targets Canelo Showdown - Catch-Weight is Ruled Out Daily Bread Mailbag: Golovkin-Jacobs, Kovalev-Ward, Aaron Pryor Long-Reigning Lefties - Pacquiao, Hagler, Martinez, Winky, More Browne Shreds Whyte: You're Euro Level, an Ugly Motherf***er Boxer Tries To Leave The Ring Mid-Count After Being Dropped Roach: Pacquiao Has Been Hurting Me, Expect a Different Manny! Former World Champion Seriously Injured, Attacked With a Sword "Fighting Words" - Breaking Down 2016's Fighter of the Year Race Golovkin's Coach: GGG Beats Kovalev, Ward and Stevenson David Lemieux: I'm Not 100% Satisfied With The Rios Win Klitschko Confirms Title Fight, Won't Confirm The Opponent Sergey Lipinets To Face Lenny Z on Charlo vs. Williams PBC Card Photos: David Lemieux Powers Past Cristian Fabian Rios Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz Could Head To The United States Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Dominik Britsch on December 10 Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera No Longer Rivals - Photo Roy Jones: If No Canelo, Golovkin Must Take a Risk and Move Up!

Latest Active Forum Threads