China might not be a major boxing country but we are seeing a development of Chinese fighters with the likes of Ik Yang, Rex Tso and Taishan Dong, who debuted last night. The spearhead of that development is double Olympic champion Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) who is much maligned by western boxing fans but appears to be a fighter on the way to awaking a possibly massive Chinese boxing market.
Shiming took his first massive step up in class today on "Champions of Gold" as he took on former multi-time world title challenger Luis De la Rosa (23-4-1, 13) and put on a genuinely solid performance to win a clear and dominant 10 round decision and claim the WBO International title. It was Shiming's first title bout and his first 10 rounder but he looked more than comfortable for vast parts of the bout.
Before the first bell went it was clear that Shiming was bigger, rangier and taller than Dela Rosa though and he knew it as he used his reach and height to his advantage boxing to his strengths and using his reach as well as his speed. On debut Shiming looked rushed, frantic and even hyper-active, this time around however he looked patient and was clearly putting more weight in to his shots which were thrown with a more professional manner. He rattling off combinations when needed and and exciting the fans who were cheering on their man. Dela Rosa, to his credit, tried to apply constant pressure but was often picked off at range by Shiming.
The second round saw much the same pattern as the first with Dela Rosa walking forward and Shiming unloading flashy but yet professional combinations. The one difference was that Dela Rosa did manage to open up more in the second than he had in the first but there was still not enough from the Colombian to give him the round.
Although Shiming had looked comfortable with the pressure in the first 2 rounds things did change in round 3 as Dela Rosa cut the distance and went to work up close. It was the round of the fight and possibly the toughest round of Shiming's career so far as Dela Rosa put his foot on the gas and seemed to make Shiming revert to his old amateur style of slapping. It was a great round but it was, effectively the end of Dela Rosa's chance and from round 4 on wards he was beginning to look tired and failed to really have much sustained success.
In round 5 Shiming began to box and move. It took the excitement away from the bout for a few rounds as he chipped away at Dela Rosa but it show just how good of a professional boxer Shiming could be by using his lengthy arms, fast hands and intelligent footwork. He circled the Colombian, jabbing at will and landing the occasional quick combination to excite the fans. Round 5 was a clear Shiming round but it was mostly notable for a clash of heads that left Dela Rosa with a nasty cut around his eye, a cut that would bleed until the final bell.
Less than a round after the cut was inflicted we started to see the blood begin to cover things, it wasn't as graphic as the blood loss from Takuya Watanbe's fight with Jaesung Lee but it was still notable with claret dripping down from the cut to cover Shiming's shoulders. With the cut being a bad one and with the score cards almost certainly against him Dela Rosa did get desperate but was unable to do much as a still fresh looking Shiming continued to pile up the rounds.
The desperation of Dela Rosa in round 6 was shown again in round 7 though this time Shiming met fire with fire as the two traded shots in an exciting start to the round that sent the crowd wild. Sadly for the crowd this round was one of the last ones to really have any excitement as Shiming boxed conservatively through rounds 8 and 9. Although both seemed like Shiming rounds Dela Rosa did try to steal the 9th with a late flurry.
Thankfully the action did resume in style in round 10 as the two traded relentlessly for the final minute or so. By then however it was clear Dela Rosa couldn't hurt Shiming though it did seem like Shiming was trying to stop Dela Rosa. Sadly for the Chinese fighter he couldn't give fans the ending they all wanted.
Instead of the stoppage Shiming had to do with a clear decision winning with cards of 99-91, 99-91 and 97-93. We're not sure how a judge gave 3 rounds to Dela Rose but the 99-91 cards seem about right.
We know Shiming will split opinion with fans though we've got to admit he is impressing us. On his debut Shiming looked like he was going nowhere fast, now however he is world ranked, he looks like a professional fighter, he's proven his ability to go 10 rounds and when compared to many other recent Olympians he actually looks like the one who has improved the most. When he turned professional few would have expected him to have progressed this far this quickly though it now seems like he is on the verge of a world title fight and, even in the lower weights, that's a huge achievement for someone who many fans have slated for one thing or another.
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