Beaten Zou vows to win back world ti­tle

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SHANG­HAI: Chi­nese box­ing star Zou Shim­ing vowed yes­ter­day to “fight un­til my last breath” to re­cover the ti­tle he lost in Shang­hai when he was knocked out in his first de­fence of the WBO fly­weight crown.

Two-time Olympic gold medal­list Zou was a strong favourite to beat Sho Kimura on Fri­day, but he ran out of juice as the fight wore on and the younger Ja­panese si­lenced a rowdy home crowd with an 11th-round up­set vic­tory.

Zou, whose pro­fes­sional record now stands 9-2 (two KOs), might be in the twi­light of his ca­reer at 36 but he still wants his belt back.

“I be­lieve in fate, but am not re­signed to it. I will go on fight­ing un­til my last breath,” he posted early on Mon­day on Weibo, China’s equiv­a­lent of Twit­ter.

“A man must keep fight­ing to re­cover what he has lost.”

Zou won the va­cant World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) fly­weight belt in 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 two Olympic golds and three world ti­tles.

Zou was too clever for the less ex­pe­ri­enced Kimura, 28, in the early rounds of Fri­day’s bout but the Ja­panese — a part-time restau­rant worker — kept com­ing for­ward and re­fused to be put off by a nasty wound he sus­tained above one eye.

Kimura, who im­proved to 15-1-2 (eight KOs), un­leashed a flurry of punches in the 11th that stunned Zou, send­ing him to the can­vas.

Zou, who was pro­mot­ing him­self for the first time af­ter part­ing with US pro­mot­ers Top Rank, was left in tears in the ring. AFP

Zou Shim­ing

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