Tag Archives: Zou Shiming

Monstrous Chinese Superheavyweights Invade America

It was a long time coming before the first ever Chinese heavyweight boxer would make his American pro debut from the Peoples Republic of China, ie ruling National Communist Party as opposed to the vestigial Republic of China, ie Taiwan to plainly state saber rattling, missile splashing geo-political distinctions. Last night at the storied Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco, California, all seven foot and 300 or so pounds of Taishan Dong swung into action to knock out Alex Rozman, a novice journeyman with an nonthreatening losing record. 

7' Taishan Dong

7′ Taishan Dong

It was something of a stealth debut for the little known Dong who is named after a holy Taoist mountain of Mt. Taishan. He may find his fleeting accolades soon shadowed by another supersized countryman come August 8th in Fallon Nevada when Chinese Olympic Superheavyweight Silver Medalist Zhang Zhilei makes a much more touted debut against novice Matt McKinney, 0-0-1, 0 KO and also currently ranking among near the last grouping of the 1000 or so Boxrec listed heavyweights. The stellar amateur accomplishments of Zhilei and the high level professional training he has received cannot be immediately matched by Dong without further development.

But the good news is that the Chinese peoples and international boxing community will have some new favorites or villains to pick from. Dong’s background is in various martial arts, most notably kick boxing like the Klitschko brothers who have infuriated, re: emasculated the more traditional mainstream American and British heavyweight fans with their dominance in the ring. How Chinese fighters will be received is unknown, but the most touted professional Chinese fighter is currently Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming who fights out of Macao, China for Top Rank, currently at 5-0, 1 KO. He trains with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles though and may eventually make an American debut in the future, but since he’s a flyweight, he won’t catch on like the heavyweights might well do.
I know little of Zhang Zhilhei’s boxing skills other than he defeated current New Zealander up and coming contender Joseph Parker in the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. The notoriously “political” International Olympic Committee always reserve medals for the host nation’s best boxers, so make of it what you will.
Making a Splash in the Big Apple

Making a Splash in the Big Apple

The 31 year old Zhilei is definitely cast in the mold of a giant, looking much bigger here than his listed 6-6, 240 claimed pounds as he dwarfs his “advisor” Evander Holyfield. He is also looks to be quite personable which may endear him to American fans, but he’s also a southpaw who may soon be flattening hapless American prospects which may not endear him at all to flag waving Americans, but it is what it is, currently a fragile construct of modern international politics that would allow these types of immigrations to take place.

The plan seems to move Zhilei along smartly with maybe a title shot in 3 years or so around 34-35 years of age. Looking forward to seeing these latest Chinese developments for sure. True boxing fans are always game for more good fighters to come along to blast some much needed infusion into a stagnating sport, so we shall see what shall be.

Mo’ Macao~~Miguel Vazquez vs Denis Shafikov

That’s February 22nd at Cotai Arena at Venetian Resort in Macao where Top Rank honcho Bob Arum seems to be establishing a comfortable set of digs for his up and coming exotic stable of Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Eastern Euro boxing stars he has been signing of late.

Miguel Vazquez

Miguel Vazquez

As such, the Zanfer Promoted headliner Vasquez is being isolated in Macao on a Top Rank card. Well, there it is, proof that Top Rank and their fighters have always maintained a working arrangement with other promoters no matter how strained things look in the bright glare of public mutterings.

On paper Miguel Vazquez, 33-3, 13 KO, is old school credentialed Mexican tough, yet something of an anomoly in that he is a tall, light punching stylist as opposed the shorter stereotypical Mexican slugger. He’s also oddly paired with infamous trainer Javier Capetillo of the Antonio Margarito plaster crumbles handwrap scandal. Denis Shafikov, 33-0-1, 18 KO, was a solid juniorwelter/welter prospect out of Russia who only moved down to lightweight last year against two modest journeymen, yet here he is with his new Top Rank contract in the prestigious Macao venue challenging lightweight champ Vazquez in his 6th defense of his IBF title. A mighty fine deal Shafikov and Vazquez have that many fighters would love to trade places for. 

Denis Shafikov

Denis Shafikov

At least the squat Shafikov has one advantage on paper, that of having fought last year. Poor Vazquez had the rug pulled out from under him so many times it became something of a slapstick comedy sketch, but presumably he was in training during those periods, so not all is lost. His big advantage is that Shafikov is basically untested at the weight and at this caliber of competition. Both are prime age mid to late 20s and should be up for it.

Undercards include the hugely touted Asian fighters, Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist Ryota Murata and Chinese Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming among others.

There have been better boxing cards of course, but the main event has some interesting aspects to it and the supporting bouts are a must see for diehards interested in how the future of boxing is being shaped in far away exotic locales.

Zou Shiming Debut, Macao, China–Hawaiian Punch Brian Viloria Too!

Brian Hawaiian Punch Viloria is the high ranking fighter in this Macao Fists of Gold promotion by a substantial margin. He faces a significant challenge in Juan Francisco Estrada who is coming off a hard fought loss to Roman Gonzalez, the light flyweight king. Viloria’s WBA and WBO straps will put up for grabs.

The card is heavily laden with some other noted champs, contenders, former champs, and prospects such as Roman Martinez,  Wilfredo Vazquez JrDiego MagdalenoDodie Boy Penalosa Jr and his younger brother, Dave Penalosa of the Filipino Penalosa fighting family.

Sounds like a solid highly skilled lineup of action oriented fights, but all to take a backseat to the debut of the first ever Chinese Olympic gold medalist, Zou Shiming, who will be fighting the Mexican novice, Eleazar Valenzuela.

2013-04-06 Zou Shiming debut Venetian Casino & Resort, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China 4
Shiming Fists of Gold

Shiming Fists of Gold

Zou Shiming is a very popular Chinese athlete and seemed to be quite the affable fellow when he and his wife came to America to be wined and dined by Top Rank honcho Bob Arum as they announced his pro debut.  He is nearing 32 years of age, but a reputedly has talent oozing out his pores and looking to become a bigger sensation in China if not also in the rest of the world for as long as his pro career lasts. The venue in Macao, China  for his kickoff is significant in that it has potential to become the number one fight spot for big matches that generate lots of money, possibly usurping Las Vegas’ spot as the premiere destination for big fights.

The supporting cast is a pretty rainbow of primarily Asian fighters, such as   American Brian Viloria having Filipino roots, the pure Filipino Penalosa brothers, Filipino Melindo, a couple of Thai fighters and a couple of Japanese fighters, an Austrialian, and Indonesian. Puerto Ricans are thrown in the mix with Martinez and Vasquez Jr, and Mexicans Estrada and Valenzuela and an Argentine.

Arum is a cagey old salt and knows nationalist rivalries when he sees them, just the kind of stuff to generate a gate with lively interest in some lively bouts. I’m also thinking that Manny Pacquiao will be on prominent display to promote his next bout in either Macao or Singapore sometime in September the thinking goes.

HBO will be broadcasting the bout with Larry Merchant and Big George Foreman reunited for some additional fireworks.

Sounds like a fun place to be for a paying gig, but, alas, I wasn’t invited, que lastima. Maybe next time, but in the meantime, I’ll just have to catch the broadcast like everyone else. Enjoy.