By Ma Yue
ZOU Shiming will focus on stamina during training as the two-time Olympic champion prepares for his maiden 12-round bout in November, which, if he wins, will earn him a shot at the very first professional boxing title for China.
Zou’s opponent will be Thai Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express in their flyweight bout in the Clash of Cotai II to be held at the Venetian Cotai Arena in China’s Macau. Their bout is the undercard for the main feature involving Philippine icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts) defending his WBO welterweight title against undefeated WBO junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) of the United States.
After tasting professional boxing for more than one year, Zou (5-0), a Guizhou Province native, is making up for lost time by aiming to capture whatever titles are on offer in his professional career.
“I started my professional career after I was 30, a decision I’m still so proud and feel lucky about. Right now I’m just learning more about professional boxing and winning whatever glories that are available. I also want to inspire the younger generation in China,” Zou told a press conference in Shanghai yesterday.
Zou said professional boxing has opened a new world for him, something he would never have imagined back in his amateur days, when the once-in-four-years Olympic Games, with a three-round fight, was the ultimate goal.
“In the past, I only wanted to be the champion since I knew a runner-up is forgotten by the world soon. Now I know that even a champion will fade away with time. So to enjoy boxing is far more important to me now than the result.”
The 12-round fight in November against Kwanpichit (27-0-2) will be a new challenge for the 33-year-old and he expects a more intensive training regime over the next few months.
His coach, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, said that a five-week closed training is planned for Zou in the US. “His punching speed and strength have already met my expectation,” Roach said. The training now will be aimed at a 12-round fight.
If Zou wins the fight in November, he will meet either IBF flyweight title holder Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand or Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo, who will fight in Thailand next month. That WBO flyweight fight is scheduled for February.
“I think China will have a professional boxing champion soon,” Roach said.
Talking about his other ward, Pacquiao — the only eight-division world champion — Roach believed the Filipino’s experience would be the difference in his fight against Algieri.
Algieri, however, has an impressive educational background. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management, a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition and a PhD in Upsets Inside the Ring.
“If Algieri holds a Master’s degree, then Manny owns a PhD in boxing,” Roach quipped, with laughter.