By Mark G. Butcher in Macao: Promoter Bob Arum’s foray into the untapped Chinese market gathers apace this Saturday (February 22nd) when two-time Olympic Champion Zou Shiming has his fourth professional fight at the Cotai Arena in the magnificent Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao.
By the end of the year, Shiming is being lined up to fight IBF flyweight champion and former amateur rival Amnat Ruenrong who will be ringside on Saturday night at the bout in China’s ‘Special Administrative Region’.
The 34-year-old Ruenrong won the title just over a month ago against Filipino Rocky Fuentes in his native Thailand and represents the best short-term route into world championship class for Shiming, given Roman Gonzalez’s mandatory position for the WBC crown and the professional pedigree of seasoned WBO and WBA champion Juan Francisco Estrada.
Meanwhile, Shiming, 3-0 (0), fights experienced Thai Yokthong Kokietgym, 15-3 (11), in his first eight-rounder this Saturday. The Chinese hero has shown notable improvement in his first 10 months as a professional under the guidance of trainer Freddie Roach and could seal his first stoppage against Kokietgym who has fought a staggering 14 debutants in his time as a pro.
The bill also features IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez in a pick ‘em title defence against unbeaten Russian Denis Shafikov and former Olympic gold medalists Ryoto Murata and Egor Mekhontsev in their latest professional outings.
The HBO telecast begins at 5pm ET/PT on HBO2 in the US.