What a difference four months make.
China’s Zou Shiming finally won the respect of his peers with a commanding, unanimous decision in his latest venture in the professional ranks.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist looked a different fighter from the one who struggled, chopped and fumbled his way to his unimpressive decision against Mexican kid Jesus Ortega in Fists of Gold II in July.
In front of the biggest crowd of his career and the second HBO live telecast at the Cotai Arena in Macau on Sunday morning, the 32-year-old mainlander outclassed Mexico’s Juan “Polly” Toscano, winning the six-round contest with a performance his handlers, promoters and even his country had been waiting for.
The mainlander stretched his victories to three, but is still looking for his first knockout or TKO success.
Still, the crowd must have been amazed by Zou’s improvement. In July, he was running on empty and looked a weary, almost beaten fighter. On Sunday, he certainly looked a winner all the way. He bobbed and weaved and threw effective combinations for the first time.
His training in General Santos in the Philippines and his time with the country’s icon, Manny Pacquiao, paid off as he strung together a punishing and impressive offence.
Zou dominated the fight from the word go and by the end of the fifth round, Toscano’s handlers had to attend to the 21-year-old’s right eye.
Zou moved well and was throwing good combinations and wasn’t afraid to step in and take punishment against Toscano, who wasn’t able to dictate terms.
With blood streaming from near his his left eye, it looked as if the fight was going to be over, but round six still started and Zou continued to put on the pressure. By the end of the contest, Zou raised his arms in triumph. It was Zou’s third victory in a row by uanimous decision.