Zou vows to ‘fight to last breath’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI — Zou Shim­ing on Mon­day vowed to “fight un­til my last breath” to re­gain the WBO world fly­weight ti­tle he lost last Fri­day when he was knocked out in his first de­fense of the crown he’d held for just eight months.

China’s two-time Olympic gold medal­ist was a 10-1 fa­vorite to beat No 7-ranked Sho Kimura of Ja­pan, but the 36-year-old looked tired and con­fused as the fight wore on be­fore the 28-year-old Kimura stopped him at 2:28 of round 11.

Zou, whose pro­fes­sional record now stands 9-2, might be in the twi­light of his ca­reer but he still wants his belt back.

“I be­lieve in fate, but I am not re­signed to it. I will go on fight­ing un­til my last breath,” he posted on Weibo. “A man must keep fight­ing to re­cover what he has lost.”

Zou won the va­cant ti­tle last Novem­ber in Las Ve­gas, but since turn­ing pro­fes­sional in 2013 he has largely failed to repli­cate the dom­i­nant form of a hugely suc­cess­ful am­a­teur ca­reer that in­cluded Olympic gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Games in Bei­jing and Lon­don.

Zou was sharp in the early rounds against the less ex­pe­ri­enced Kimura (15-1-2), a part-time beer-truck driver, but the Ja­panese up­start re­fused to be put off by a nasty cut above his right eye in the sixth and grad­u­ally wore down Zou with re­lent­less pres­sure and ac­cu­rate punch­ing.

Kimura un­leashed a flurry of eight punches late in the 11th that sent Zou crash­ing to the to the can­vas.

Zou, who was pro­mot­ing him­self for the first time after part­ing with US com­pany Top Rank, was left in tears in the ring at the Shang­hai Ori­en­tal Sports Cen­ter.

His wife Ran Yingy­ing, a for­mer tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter who is heav­ily in­volved in her hus­band’s new pro­mo­tion com­pany, posted a mes­sage to Zou on Weibo early on Mon­day.

“At dawn I heard a stead­fast pledge. I also want to say: I be­lieve in you, and I know you,” Ran wrote.

“Re­store what has been lost! A sin­cere man keeps fight­ing.”

Zou Shim­ing

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