A few days ago we reported that China, against Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14) [熊朝忠] wasn't going to challenge WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (16-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] in the near future. Since then we've seen two different Zhong stories emerge.
One story, which seems to have originated in Thailand, is that Zhong's team have turned down a fight with Knockout on the understanding that Knockout will be promoted to "Super" champion shortly and leave Zhong able to fight for the vacant "regular" title.The report fails to name a possible foe for Zhong, though there are a number of interesting opponents out there for the Chinese fighter, if he does indeed go this rather cynical and disappointing route. It could mean a fight with Nicaraguan Byron Rojas (24-3-3, 10), South African Simphiwe Khonco (18-5, 7), Peruvian Ricardo Astuvilca (17-0, 4) or one of the other ranked contenders, with the rankings set for a huge shake up in February due to bouts being announced for a number of top 15 fighters.
The second story is a more heart warming one, and one that shows that Zhong does respect the sport, and it's long term growth in China. The story in question is that Zhong has now, officially, opened the "Xiong Chaozhong International Boxing Fitness Club". The club is almost 4,000 square meters in Wenshan and will be used to train fighters for the future and was paid for by Zhong's last purse, with the entire purse from his bout with Petchmanee Kokietgym being used to fund the club.
From the reports in China the idea of the club is to help poor children in China have somewhere to begin their boxing career. The idea seems to be to use it as a platform for careers foing forward and thee was some mention of it being free charge for children, with the hope of running it mostly on donations.
It sounds as if Zhong has big hopes for the future and if the gym is a success then Zhong may open another in Kuming in the future.
Whilst the way Zhong seems to have avoided Knockout is easy to criticise it's hard not to wish Zhong well for the way he is looking towards the future of the Chinese boxing scene and hope the the gym is a success for both Zhong on a personal level and for Chinese boxing as a whole.
(Image courtesy of http://sports.ifeng.com)
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