Zou Shiming

‘Worst day’ as fears grow Chinese superstar boxer Zou Shiming might have lost sight in left eye during flight

Wife of China’s poster boy takes to social media after two-time Olympic champion appears to have suffered suspected detached retina on flight back to Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 5:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 4:55pm

Chinese boxing superstar Zou Shiming’s career is in jeopardy after the former WBO flyweight world champion suffered a suspected detached retina on a flight home.

Zou was returning to Shanghai from Beijing, where he attended the Laureus China Top Ten Sports Awards, when he complained to his wife, Ran Yingying, that he might have lost vision in his left eye on Thursday.

The 36-year-old Zunyi-born Zou, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who has not fought since losing to Japan’s Sho Kimura in his first world title defence in July, immediately sought treatment as soon as he landed in Shanghai.

Chinese media reports say the prognosis for Zou “didn’t look good”. He was later transferred to an eye specialist to undergo tests on Friday.

“He will stay in hospital and things are not looking good. The check up is still going on but his spirit seems to be OK,” reported Sina Shanghai.

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Hours earlier, Ran wrote in her Weibo microblog: “I can’t sleep. I will wait until the morning and start with a different check-up. Today is the worst day for me.”

Photos taken by Chinese media show Zou wearing dark glasses and being guided by his wife upon touching down in Shanghai, where he lives. A fellow passenger on his flight also took a photo of Zou holding his left eye while his worried wife tends to him.

Zou’s career hit a fork in the road after he was knocked out by underdog Kimura in a huge upset in Shanghai last summer and the Beijing and London Games gold medallist has not trained or fought since.

Watch: Zou Shiming v Sho Kimura for WBO flyweight world title

China’s most successful boxer suffered a tumultuous year from the get go, with his wife having to call firefighters in January to cut off an undersized ring after it got stuck on her finger causing it to swell up.

Before the summer, he severed links with American boxing promoters Top Rank and distanced himself from his own Chinese sports marketing firm Seca to promote his own fight against Kimura.

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He was not trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, coach of Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, for the Kimura fight and his preparations took a hit as a consequence, suffering his first knockout as a professional.

Zou’s left eye has been a problem since his amateur days when he complained of seeing “double vision” on his way to a second gold medal at the London Games.

He also needed months of rest after suffering a nasty headbutt to the same eye against Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym, of Thailand, in their 12-round world flyweight eliminator Macau fight on the undercard of Clash in Cotai II, featuring Pacquiao, in November 2014.

His latest eye problem is another hammer blow to one of China’s highest moneymakers and its most respected boxer in history.

Zou said immediately after his loss to Kimura he was going to make a comeback, even claiming he wanted to become a professional coach. His current professional record stands at nine wins and two losses (9-2, 2 KOs).