Although WBO Flyweight champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) [邹市明] is widely derided by fans in the west it's hard to deny that he is a huge star in China. That was shown earlier today as Shiming and Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7) [木村翔] took part in their signing ceremony ahead of Friday's fight, and the venue was packed with reporters.
The bout will be Shiming's first title defense, whilst Kimura is taking part in his first world title bout, but the numbers in attedence for what is essentially a press event would suggest that these were two huge names with long careers at the top of the sport, rather than relative novices on the world stage.
The event saw both men talk confidently about winning. Shiming stated he had been training for 3 months for the bout and had had no break. He looked confident, in great shape and relaxed, despite taking on a lot of additional responsibility for his first professional fight away from the promotional power house of Top Rank.
Kimura also seemed confident, declaring that he would be taking the belt back to Japan and looked like a man who genuinely felt a lot of self belief here.
Away from the two men, the reports from China is that the bout will draw an estimated 400,000,000 viewers, with some estimates suggesting more than 500,000,000 may tune in, during the peak, which would make the bout one of the biggest viewed in the history of the sport.
Related-Kimura looks to upset Chinese hero Zou!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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