Zou Shiming

Freddie Roach warns Zou Shiming to raise his game in second Macau fight

Chinese star accepts criticism from trainer and public and insists second professional bout will be more impressive than first

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 December, 2014, 1:33pm

Zou Shiming has been told to stop showboating and focus on fighting when he steps into the ring in Macau next weekend.

He can't play to the crowd like he did last time. To do that, you really have to dominate
Trainer Freddie Roach

With a number of critics questioning Zou's victory in Macau in April in his professional debut - saying he's not good enough to clinch a world title belt within one or two years - coach Freddie Roach has warned the two-time Olympic gold medallist to stop fighting like an amateur.

"He can't play to the crowd like he did last time. If you are going to do that, you really have to dominate your opponent. He didn't do that," Roach said.

"When you do dominate your opponent, you can do a little talking and a little hands up and be a showman. Until he shows me that during a fight, I won't let him do that again."

Zou has much to prove after his unanimous-decision victory against little-known Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela on his professional debut in April.

The Chinese star will have up to step up a notch as he faces exciting Mexican prospect Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs) in Fists of Gold II at the Venetian Cotai Arena next Saturday. "I accept all criticism," he said. "I believe these people want me to become a better fighter and I feel I didn't do as well as I should have last time."I thought long and hard after my fight in April. Yes, it was my first pro fight and it was a whole new experience for me. I wasn't used to the environment. I think I was overawed by it all, fighting in front of 15,000 passionate fans.

"I only fought four rounds but it felt like more. I remember asking my coach what round it was and he said it was round two. I didn't have any idea how many rounds were left. I was caught up in all the excitement and attention that I was getting," said the 32-year-old flyweight.

"After the fight, I spent days reading what other people were saying. Some praised me while others criticised me. It affected me." Zou and his team were in Beijing recently and he was asked by a reporter what went wrong and why he couldn't knock out his opponent. It was a reality check.

"Why should I feel disappointed? I won the fight. I felt my performance was all right and my team also thought it was a successful fight. You have to remember, I was an amateur for more than 10 years. I can't change my style or improve so much in the first few months of training.

"Yes, I reverted to the old Olympic style [of boxing], but believe me I will be better for my second bout," said Zou, gold medallist in Beijing (2008) and London (2012).

"It's a big change for me because I have to fight harder and longer. I have even prepared myself for the unexpected such as being knocked down. Many professionals have had this experience, but they have come back to win. I have intensified my training. I am punching harder and my stamina has improved.

"I have to keep reminding myself I am no longer an amateur. I am a professional."Roach says Zou would make a bigger impression in his second professional fight. "We have got him back on track. He has improved in speed and strength. He just has to know when to use it. I didn't expect the crowd to get to him in his first fight. He didn't show me [in the ring] what he could do in the gym. It was his first fight and this happens.

"I don't have to rush Shiming into a title fight," added Roach, who is also superstar Manny Pacquiao's trainer. "We are putting him on a bit of a fast track [towards a world title]. "If he progresses the way he has progressed in the gym and he shows me that in the fight then we will go for a higher level."