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Zou living his world title dream

By Murray Greig | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-07 07:58

Precision punching, slick defense pave path to WBO flyweight crown

As methodical as a surgeon and cool as an assassin, Zou Shiming punched his way to the vacant WBO world flyweight title on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

China's two-time Olympic gold medalist from Zunyi, Guizhou province, was all but perfect in pounding out a 12-round decision over Thailand's Prasitsak Phaprom on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's welterweight title triumph over Jessie Vargas at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Two judges scored the bout 120-107 while the third had it 119-108 for Zou, who became just the second Chinese boxer to win a major world title after Kunming's Zhang Chaozhong, who won the WBC strawweight crown in 2012.

 

China's Zou Shiming knocks down Thailand's Prasitsak Phaprom in the second round of their WBO flyweight championship fight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. Zou won by unanimous decision. Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP

"My dream is now realized ... all the hard work paid off," Zou, 35, said in a TV interview moments after being presented with the title belt.

"I didn't really feel pressure; I was calm and relaxed throughout the fight. Now I am an Olympic champion, a pro champion ... and a world champion."

Zou fought like a champ from the opening bell, using his 10-centimeter height advantage to dictate a distance that Phaprom was never able to violate with meaningful violence.

Since his last outing - a 10-round decision over Hungary's Jozef Ajtai in June - Zou and his Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach, made some subtle adjustments to open up punching angles, and the result was spectacular.

After decking Phaprom with a short right hook late in the second round, Zou took complete command in the third, landing an impressive 52 percent of his punches.

The scenario was repeated over and over for the remainder of the fight: Phaprom desperately trying to bull his way inside, and Zou calmly teeing off with vicious rights behind a piston-like jab.

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