Lu Bin keen to follow in Zou Shiming’s footsteps and win Olympic boxing gold

Light flyweight is China’s main hope in the ring at the Rio Games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 June, 2016, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 June, 2016, 5:34pm

Chinese boxing hero Zou Shiming will not be competing at the Rio Olympic Games this summer but there is no shortage of power from the mainland in the light flyweight category with the emergence of Lu Bin.

Zou’s success in the Olympic Games opened a new path for boxers in China, raising the sport’s profile and that’s why we all treat him as a role model
Lu Bin

At 21, Lu will be the favourite for the 46-49 kilogram event after winning the APB World Championship in February 2015 before successfully defending his title seven months later.

“Zou’s success in the Olympic Games opened a new path for boxers in China, raising the sport’s profile and that’s why we all treat him as a role model,” the star-in-the-making said at the Beijing Olympic Centre.

“I was a relatively new member of the Guangzhou municipal team when I watched Zou win Olympic gold in 2008.

“His success let the world know Chinese boxers are capable of competing against the world’s best. He instilled a lot of impetus for a young kid like me.

WATCH: Lu Bin aims to follow in Zou Shiming’s footsteps

“I am so happy to have the same opportunity in Rio. Chinese boxers are always competitive in the lightweight events because we are quick and agile, and more importantly we are not afraid to attack. I can’t wait for the Games.”

Zou, now a professional, has become a legend in China after winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Games, then gold in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. His gold medal in Beijing was also the first ever by a Chinese boxer.

Lu defeated Birzhan Zhakypov, of Kazakhstan, in front of his home supporters when he successfully defended his world title in Guangdong province last year and the Kazakh, along with boxers from Cuba and central Asia, will be Lu’s major rivals in Rio where the category will feature 22 competitors.

“There is no pressure on me, despite Zou’s brilliant Olympic record,” Lu said. “All I need to do is to get myself ready for the challenge. Every bout will be difficult in Rio but I fear no one and have set my sights on winning gold.”

Zhakypov, 31, also lost to Zou at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Lu and Zhakypov qualified for Rio after appearing in the APB World Championship final.