Second chance: Zou Shiming to fight for world flyweight title in Las Vegas
China’s two-time Olympic gold medallist will face the same opponent he defeated in Macau in November 2014 as he launches another bid for the one title that’s missing from his impressive resume
It will be 20 months since he last launched an unsuccessful world title bid, but China’s golden boy Zou Shiming will get a second bite of the cherry when he fights for the vacant WBO flyweight championship in Las Vegas on November 5.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time world amateur champion will be featured on the the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas bill. Details of the undercard will be announced in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
China’s best-known boxer will meet the same opponent he defeated in Macau in November 2014 as another golden opportunity to win a rare world title for China has been presented to him.
Watch: Zou Shiming defeats Jozsef Atjai in US debut in June
Zou (8-1, 2 KOs) last fought in June against unknown Hungarian teenager Jozsef Atjai in New York and will have a huge psychological advantage against Thailand’s Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (39-1-2, 24 KOs), whom he defeated by unanimous decision on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Chris Algieri fight two years ago in Macau.
It will be Zou’s first world title fight since losing a unanimous decision against Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroaeng in March 2015 in Macau for the Thai’s IBF belt. The 35-year-old Guizhou native would be confident of history repeating itself at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Las Vegas against Onesongchaigym.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Zou’s fight would boost ticket sales in Las Vegas with his strong Chinese fanbase in the United States making it a big money earner “in terms of sponsorships, ticket sales and Chinese television revenue.”
The WBO flyweight belt was vacated by Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada, who is moving up to junior bantamweight.
“I know [casino magnate] Steve Wynn is delighted he is on the card because there will be many high-rollers from China coming in for the fight and staying at The Wynn because Zou is fighting for a world title. And if he wins, it means huge fights in 2017 in China and Macau,” Arum told ESPN.
However, Zou might find Onesongchaigym a different proposition this time around. The 35-year-old Thai has fought four times as many fights as Zou has – and won all 12 of his last bouts inside the distance since losing to Zou. He won his last fight against Filipino Richard Rosales for the WBO Oriental flyweight title earlier this month. His defeat against Zou in Macau remains the only loss of his career and he will be out for revenge.
Onesongchaigym will be better prepared for Zou in November’s rematch. The Thai veteran has even changed his stage name, preferring his birth name, Prasitsak Papoem, instead of using the gymnasium’s name he represents as most Thai fighters do. The Thai achieved notoriety at his last visit in Macau when his striking resemblance to Pacquiao gave him the nickname “Pacman’s doppelganger”.
Onesongchaigym, or Prasitsak, has not fought anybody noteworthy recently. His next to last fight in July was against Indonesia’s Jack Amisa, who has a poor 21-41-2 record.
There are four world title fights in Las Vegas with Pacquiao facing Vargas for the American’s WBO welterweight title.
Also on the undercard will be WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) of the Philippines against American Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs).