Controversial Zou turns boxing pro
- Published: 24/01/2013 at 09:57 AM
- Online news:
BEIJING - The Chinese boxer whose Olympics performance jobbed Thailand's Kaew Pongprayoon out of a London gold medal announced Thursday he is turning professional.
FLASHBACK: Kaew Pongprayoon slumps to his knee after the announcement at the London Olympics Aug 12 that he had lost the gold medal fight to Zou Shiming in one of the Games' most disputed moments. (Reuters photo)
Two-time Olympic champion and three-time world amateur champion Zou Shiming said he had signed with US promoter Bob Arum.
Zou became China's first Olympic boxing medalist, first world amateur boxing champion and first Olympic boxing champion. Now he could step into the pro ranks and produce a landmark crown for China as well.
"Zou is an incredible talent who is beloved in China," Arum said. "We will make every effort to make certain that he has a spectacular career as a professional."
The 31-year-old fighter won Olympic light flyweight gold at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics after taking a bronze in Athens in 2004. He won world amateur crowns in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
But it was his gold medal at London that forever tarnished his career in some eyes, as officials awarded him the gold over Kaew, who won the fight in the opinions of almost all who watched.
At the time, the Bangkok Post reported, "The crowd booed and international announcers openly criticised yet another unjust boxing decision that prevented Kaew Pongprayoon from winning a gold medal."
After the bout, Kaew retired from boxing, and now Zou has made his career move to cash in.
Zou, whose boxing hero is Muhammad Ali and martial arts idol is Jackie Chan, is set to make his pro debut April 6 in China's gambling hub of Macau.
Reigning world champions in the light flyweight (108-pound/49kg) division include Filipino standout John Riel Casimero, 17-2 with 10 knockouts; Mexico's Adrian Hernandez, 26-2 with one drawn and 16 knockouts; and Nicaragua's Roman Gonzalez, 34-0 with 28 knockouts.
About the author
Writer: BangkokPost.com with Agency reports