Wife’s leaked messages claiming Zou Shiming was owed millions and forced to fight is denied by agents
Ran Yingying’s WeChat conversation also suggests the recovering Chinese Olympic and world champion was advised to quit boxing following eye injury in 2014
The agent of Chinese boxing star Zou Shiming has rubbished reports it forced the two-time Olympic champion to fight even though they knew Zou had serious health problems.
The accusation was made by Zou’s wife, Ran Yingying, in private WeChat messages leaked to the media by friends of the boxer after it was disclosed Zou was sent to a hospital in Shanghai last week following the sudden loss of the sight in his left eye on a flight from Beijing last week.
Ran said in the conversation that broken bones were found in Zou’s eye socket and doctors also suspected his optic nerve was damaged. According to the messages, Zou suffered similar injuries in 2014 but at the time Zou needed to fight as the bout had been arranged by his agent. After the match, the doctors suggested Zou should stop fighting or the boxer risked becoming blind.
Ran also said the agent owed them money relating to Zou’s career earnings, but declined to go into details.
The other party then accused the agent of not treating Zou as a human being and using him only as a money-spinner.
Mainland media picked up the conversation and also quoted sources among Zou’s friends that the agent had owed the couple millions of dollars.
The Chinese boxer is still in hospital for treatment although reports in the mainland said his condition was getting better.
Seca, a Chinese sports marketing company, which became Zou’s agent after the boxer successfully defended his Olympic title at the 2012 London Games, said the accusations lacked basic common sense and it had always put his interests first.
In a media statement, Seca said it had organised 10 fights for Zou after the boxer turned professional and all these matches were closely monitored by the sport’s governing body which required strict medical approval.
“Each boxer would need to go through a medal check up before they start and signed documents which have to be endorsed by all parties involved,” said the agent. “If Zou had been forced to fight, he could easily lodge complaints to the governing body.”
The statement also said Zou wanted to end the contract with Seca prematurely after clinching his WBO flyweight world title in late 2016 and promoted his own fight against Japanese boxer Sho Kimura in July, in which Zou was surprisingly defeated.
“The fight (against Kimura) has violated our agreement and damaged our legitimate right as his agent. At the moment, legal proceedings are in progress and the so-called reports on “SECA owes Zou millions of dollars and has taken the capital of Zou’s office” are all groundless,” the statement said.