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Tozcano keen to avoid Zou Mexican hat-trick dance

Updated: 2013-11-23 07:44
By Murray Greig in Macao ( China Daily)

Stopping Zou Shiming from notching a Mexican hat-trick has become a matter of national pride for Juan Tozcano.

Zou, China's two-time Olympic gold medalist, won decisions over Mexican opponents in his first two pro fights this year. He will try for the 'trio grande' when he squares off with the unbeaten Tozcano (4-0, 1 KO) in their six-round flyweight match on Top Rank's 'Clash in Contai' card in Macao on Sunday.

"It is very important for me to win this fight because the whole world will be watching and I am fighting for Mexico's reputation," the native of Ensenada said through an interpreter on Thursday.

"I am a little bit nervous to fight outside my country for the first time and I know that all of China is in Zou's corner, but if I follow my trainer's plan I am confident of winning.

"We see Zou as still a very amateur fighter, a guy who throws wide punches. I think I can take advantage of that with my style of attack."

Tozcano got an up-close look at Zou during the latter's six-round decision over Jesus Ortega in July.

"The promoter flew me to Macao to be the substitute for Ortega in case he got sick or was hurt in training," he said. "In July, I was Plan B, but this time I am Plan A. I am nobody's substitute. Zou will find out that I am not like the other Mexicans he has fought."

Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who is paying Zou $500,000 for just his third pro fight, said the 32-year-old from Zunyi is worth every penny.

"Zou is the reason the Venetian Resort & Casino made the decision to partner with us; in a very real sense he is the reason why we are all here," said Arum, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

"The world already knows all about Manny Pacquiao, the greatest Asian boxer of all time. Now along comes this kid, Zou, a hero to 1.3 billion Chinese, who we think will propel this sport to a new high in this great country. We couldn't be happier."

Zou will not be the only homegrown talent showcased on Sunday. In an eight-round super lightweight bout, unbeaten Ik Yang of Dalian (12-0, 8 KOs) is taking on Indonesia's Hero Tito (7-2, 3 KOs) while Hong Kong's Rex Tso (7-0-2, 4 KOs) meets Thailand's Susu Sithjadeang in a six-round super flyweight match.

Macao's own Kouk Kun Ng (1-0) will also be in the spotlight, in a four-round super welterweight bout against Thailand's You-Ji Zeng.

The semi-main event, a 12-round rematch for the IBF world featherweight crown, will see Russian champion Evgeny Gradovich (17-0, 8 KOs) square off with Australia's Billy Dib (36-2, 21 KOs), from whom Gradovich took the title in March.

"This will be a much different fight," said Dib, who lost the belt on a 12-round split decision. "I think it will come down to which one of us learned the most from our last fight and who will make the better adjustments.

"For me, it is all about movement. Gradovich is a Russian bulldozer - he only moves forward in one gear. He is a strong, dangerous puncher ... but movement bothers him. Last time I was too stationary, so that is something we have worked hard at correcting."

(China Daily 11/23/2013 page16)

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