Heavyweight boxer Zhang sets sights on world champion

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2014-4-10 23:28:03

Zhang Junlong Photo: CFP

Two years after turning professional in the World Boxing Organization, Chinese heavyweight boxer Zhang Junlong is aiming high in 2014.

Dubbed the "Dragon King," the 32-year-old is mentored by the former undisputed world champion Evander Holyfield.

"While now I rank after 200th place in the world rankings, I aim to join the top 100 at the end of this year," Zhang told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.

Compatriots Zou Shiming and Xiong Chaozhong are better-known to Chinese boxing fans, especially Zou, the 2012 London Olympic gold medalist who turned professional last year. However, the two boxing trailblazers are not in the top weight class.

Zhang admitted there shouldn't be any comparison between him and the duo, saying, "Zou and Xiong are pioneers in their respective ­domains."

The Qingdao-born boxer also expressed his ­eagerness to pave the way for Chinese professional heavyweight boxing.

Zhang said his choice to fight in China rather than going abroad was to make the sport more popular. He also spoke of his expectation for Asian boxers.

"Different eras had different stars," Zhang said. "Previously those who got famous are ­mostly from Europe and America, I think now is the time to see a rising tide from Asia.

"After Vitali Klitschko stepped back from boxing and turned into politics in Ukraine, now there's even a vacancy for the world champion in the World Boxing Council."

Zhang scheduled eight fights this year, two of which he has fought and won. Avoiding injuries is the top priority for him, as he said.

"If I can do well in my contests and can avoid any injuries, I am confident that things will ­happen as I expect," he said. "The only thing I am sure is that I am progressing, and I am stepping closer to being world champion."

Posted in: Miscellany, Boxing

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