Zou stunned in title defense

By Lu Wen’ao in Shanghai Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/28 23:58:39

Chinese star suffers 11th-round knockout

China's boxing star Zou Shi­ming failed to weather the fist storm from Sho Kimura of Japan on Friday in Shanghai, losing the WBO flyweight world title.

The 36-year-old was given a technical knockout after Kimura, who is eight years younger, powered a triple strike on Zou's head in the 11th round.

But the audience at the Oriental Sports Center - about 10,000 - sent emotional applause to Zou, considered a national hero who also won two Olympic golds during his amateur days.

"Though I failed to win, I hope I can let more people understand boxing," Zou said emotionally on the stage after losing the match.

"Many people still misunderstand the sport. I hope I can change their mind-set through my work."

He also called on the fans not to hate his Japanese opponent but to embrace the result of boxing, before expressing his hope that young Chinese fighters could step into the shoes.

The veteran, fighting defensively and relying on counter-punches on Friday, was finding it hard to keep his pace, the tactic he is known for. He even slipped down three times during the fight.

A scheduled post-match news conference for Zou was also canceled after his loss.

The shock defeat was a bitter letdown for Zou, who was promoting the fight himself and aiming to raise boxing's profile in China. He turned pro in 2013 after a glittering amateur career.

Speculation was rampant on Zou's plan to retire before the fight, as he is aging and has lost his edge on the stage.

He admitted the time is not far away but declined to say when he will retire.

"I don't rule out retirement," he told the Global Times in an earlier exclusive interview.

"But personally I don't want to say goodbye."

Zou has set his long-term plan to develop professional boxing in China, as he has set up a platform to help more fighters to engage in professional bouts.

Zou's defeat means now China went back to zero world champion in boxing.

Previously Xiong Chaozhong had claimed a WBC world title in 2012 but lost it in 2014.


Posted in: BOXING

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