No Hollywood ending for Zou
Updated: 2015-03-09 07:56
By Murray Greig(China Daily)
Chinese star takes pounding from world champ
Zou Shiming's new Hollywood hairstyle foreshadowed the conclusion to his world title fight on Saturday night in Macao.
China's double Olympic gold medalist - who aspires one day to be a movie star - sported a Justin Bieber-like 'do while leading a huge and colorful entourage into the ring. But once the bell rang he quickly morphed from a hungry, aggressive contender into a puffed-up and docile pretender in dropping a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision to International Boxing Federation flyweight champ Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand.
"I didn't get the victory today, but it's the beginning of a new journey. Boxing is just like life, so it doesn't matter," Zou said at the post-fight media conference. "Boxers are like this, we Chinese people are like this. I will give it another shot and start all over again."
The two fought three times in the amateur ranks with Zou holding the edge (most recently at the 2010 Asian Games), but as pros they were worlds apart.
All three American judges scored it 116-111 for the champ, and after a brief second-round flurry that saw Zou score the only knockdown, off an awkward combination, Ruenroeng (15-0) gave China's best-known fighter a boxing lesson he won't soon forget.
The full house packing the Venetian Macao's 15,000-seat Cotai Arena went hoarse trying to urge Zou (6-1) into destruction mode, but from the third round on he was pretty much content to throw one power punch at a time, allowing the Thai to consistently escape and dictate the pace with a sneaky jab.
According to the official scorecards, Zou managed to win just two of the final six rounds, with two of the judges giving him the 12th.
Zou won Round 2 by a score of 10-8 on all three cards, even though the knockdown appeared to be more of a slip before referee Mark Nelson indicated its legitimacy by giving Ruenroeng a standing-8.
Nelson did a great job of keeping the combatants separated when they took turns trying to manhandle each other over the last eight rounds, including one instance when Ruenroeng threw Zou to the canvas with an impressive MMA move.
Zou's trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, was not a happy camper. In the corner before Round 7 he didn't mince words in demanding his fighter be more aggressive and force Ruenroeng to deal with Zou's overhand right, but it fell on deaf ears.
Before the fight Roach opined that Zou's accelerated route to a world title shot offered proof of the Chinese star's unlimited potential and would show "if what I've taught him has sunk in."
Based on Saturday's result, it hasn't.
Meanwhile, a trio of Chinese fighters shone on the undercard.
In the night's most entertaining bout, unbeaten Hong Kong super flyweight Rex Tso (16-0) survived a third-round knockdown and retained his WBA International title with a 10-round decision over Michael Enriquez of the Philippines (10-3-1), while junior welterweight Ik Yang of Dalian improved to 19-0 with a six-round KO of Thailand's tough Patomsuk Pathompothong (29-2-1) to win their IBF title eliminator.
In a stylish bit of showmanship seconds before dispatching his foe, Yang pointed to the spot on the canvas where the Thai was stopped.
In a six-round super welterweight match, hard-punching hometown hero Kuok Kun Ng - aka 'The Macao Kid' - moved to 7-0 with a three-round destruction of Thailand's Chingchai Kiatpracha
Dubbed 'The Showdown at The Sands', the card was aired on tape-delay in the US on HBO2.
China's Zou Shiming (right) and Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng exchange punches during their IBF flyweight title bout at the Venetian Macao on Saturday. Ruenroeng won by unanimous decision. Kin Cheung / Associated Press
(China Daily 03/09/2015 page20)