By Mark G. Butcher in Macao: The weigh-in for Saturday’s glittering ‘Ring of Gold’ event took place at the Bellini Lounge in the opulent Venetian Casino on Friday afternoon. There were no problems on the scales for any of the boxers involved in championship fights with IBF lightweight king Miguel Vazquez and unbeaten challenger Denis Shafikov weighing in at an identical 134.8lbs.
The weigh-in was open to the public and the best reception was inevitably reserved for Chinese hero Zou Shiming (left) who was a picture of composure and focus on the scales, tipping in at 111.8lbs, over a pound heavier than experienced Thai foe Yokthong Kokietgym 110.6lbs.
“In the last training camp I have been working with Gavin (McMillan) on putting on more muscles and to improve my power with Freddie to land those punches,” said Zou afterwards. “I am working very hard to bring a better Zou Shiming every time. Since the last fight I feel more experienced and confident. The best is yet to come. Hopefully on Saturday I will show you what that confidence can do.”
Legendary MC Michael Buffer, who is strongly rumoured to know the exact location of the ‘Fountain of Youth’, was also on hand to announce the main event weights and looked as ageless as ever.
“It’s amazing,” said 32-year veteran Buffer, of this latest event in Macao. “This is my fourth time here in 11 months. They will have another show in May, but I may be in London on that same date (for Froch-Groves II). I feel good but the other day my wife said, ‘Why is the TV so loud?’ and I realised that the hearing is starting to go. It sneaks up on you!”
So does the iconic MC alter his style for an Asian boxing audience? “I try to stay consistent because the fans see me do it a certain way,” he said. “Depending on where I am, I may do fights differently…in the UK to a certain degree. I try to be more articulate there because their English seems to be better!”
Buffer’s talents remain in high demand among the world’s top promoters and he appears to be double-booked for the next boxing event in Macao, scheduled for the Venetian in May.
“(English promoter) Eddie Hearn called me (about MCing Froch-Groves II) and it happens to be on the same night as the next event here. I’ve worked for Top Rank for 32 years pretty regularly, but Eddie did call me first and I’m going to have to make a decision on that!”
Full ‘Ring of Gold’ weigh-in results:
IBF lightweight title – 12 rounds
Miguel Angel Vazquez 134.8lbs Denis Shafikov 134.8lbs
Vacant WBO international featherweight title – 12 rounds
Akifumi Shimoda 125.8lbs Marvin Sonsona 125.6lbs
WBC Asia Continental junior bantamweight title/vacant WBO Asia Pacific super-flyweight title
Rex Tso 114.6lbs Mako Matsuyama 114.4lbs
Flyweight contest – 8 rounds
Zou Shiming 111.8lbs Yokthong Kokietgym 110.6lbs
Middleweight contest – 8 rounds
Ryota Murata 161.4lbs Carlos Nascimento 160.6lbs
Light-heavyweight – 6 rounds
Egor Mekhontsev 177.2lbs Atthaporn Jaritram 173.6lbs
Super-flyweight – 8 rounds
Jerwin Ancajas 115.6lbs Inthanon Sithchamuang 114.6lbs
Super-featherweight - 6 rounds
Harmonito Dela Torre 131.4lbs Yakobus Heluka 128lbs
Super-welterweight – 4 rounds
Kuok Kun Ng 152.4lbs Rocky Alap Alap 150lbs
’Ring of Gold’ will be televised on HBO2 at 5pm ET/PT on Saturday in the US.