Zou sheds 7 kilos for flyweight title defense

Ma Yue
Two-time Olympic champion Zou Shiming of China will defend his World Boxing Organization flyweight crown against Japan's Sho Kimura in Shanghai.
Ma Yue
Ti Gong

Defending champion Zou Shiming (left) of China and Japan's Sho Kimura take part in the official weigh-in in Shanghai on July 27, 2017, on the eve of their WBO flyweight title bout at Pudong's Oriental Sports Center.

Two-time Olympic champion Zou Shiming lost near seven kilograms before Thursday's weigh-in, on the eve of his World Boxing Organization flyweight title defense in Shanghai.

The 36-year-old will take on Japan's Sho Kimura at Oriental Sports Center in Pudong New Area on Friday. It will also be his first professional bout under the aegis of his own company, Zouxuan Sports.

"I could not sleep due to hunger in the evening (before the weigh-in)," Zou told Shanghai Daily. "I only had a slice of meat and two slices of watermelon the whole day. To take out nearly seven kilograms off my small frame is definitely not easy."

But Zou said he is experienced enough to balance his form with the weight requirements.

"I had encountered stricter conditions in my earlier days, so this is no problem for me. I earned the title in the US, and I feel it's my duty to keep the belt in China," Zou said ahead of his 11th professional bout.

Zou turned professional in 2013. Over the past few years, he has been partnering with US promoter Top Rank, and worked with respected American trainer Freddie Roach, who counts Filipino veteran Manny Pacquiao among his wards. This time, though, Zou is kind of on his own.

"The preparation is different, and of course there are difficulties. But there is always a first step for everything, and one should have the courage to experience it."

Zou's company owns some 20 contract boxers, who will also present their skills in earlier or undercard bouts before Zou's main fight with Sho on Friday evening.

"That's why I take this fight and its organization very seriously. If it's successful, it's proof that we can provide a good platform for China's boxers," he said.

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