Chapter two of the Zou Shiming era will begin when the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time Amateur World Champion returns to the ring and headlines an exciting card featuring two world championship fights – WBO/WBA flyweight champion Juan Estrada vs. Milan Melindo and IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich vs. Mauricio Muñoz – Saturday, July 27, at The Venetian® Macao’s CotaiArena™.
“The exciting matches taking place at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena on July 27 highlight the fact that boxing is a major global sport,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.
“Deciding to host Zou Shiming’s professional debut in April was a great move – for Sands China and for Macao,” said Edward Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sands China Ltd. “We hosted a very successful event, and we remain committed to bringing the world’s best entertainment to Macao, helping to increase the diversity of attractions available. We’re extremely pleased to welcome Shiming back a second time in July for Fists of Gold II.”
“I was very pleased with how quickly Shiming learned what I was teaching during our first training camp and he is the hardest worker in the gym,” said Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. “This time our main focus will be on getting him to punch harder. Shiming will need to learn how to sit down on his punches to maximize their power. I cannot wait to start working with him again.”
Zou (1-0), from Guizhou, won his professional debut April 6, via a dominant four-round unanimous decision over gritty Eleazar Valenzuela of Mexico. One of the most popular Olympic athletes in China, Zou was the world’s greatest light flyweight, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011, along with gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games, making him his nation’s first Olympic medallist in boxing as well as its first boxing gold medallist in the World Amateur Championships and the Olympics. He signed with Arum’s Top Rank at a press conference in Beijing in January.
Zou, who now campaigns as a flyweight, will be graduating to a six-round bout when he faces Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs) from Hermosillo, México. A stablemate of world flyweight champion Juan Estrada, the hard-hitting Ortega is an exciting prospect who is entering this fight on a roll, having won his last two fights – his most recent a third-round knockout victory against Arcadio Sanchez on April 19.
“Jesus and I are from Sonora, México,” said Alfredo Lopez, Ortega’s trainer.
“This is the state in Mexico that has produced champions. The great Julio César Chávez was born here and became champion. Orlando Salido – champion; Tyson Marquez – champion; and current WBO world champion Juan Estrada, with whom we currently train. We know Zou well and have seen him fight. He was a very decorated amateur fighter. But Jesus is no amateur. Jesus spars with the best flyweights in the world, including Juan Estrada and Tyson Marquez. On July 27, Zou Shiming will become another stepping stone on the path to where we are going with Jesus, and that is to become Sonora’s next world champion. Viva México! Viva Ortega!”
In addition to Zou’s return, the event line-up includes an undercard highlighted by two 12-round world championship fights. WBO/WBA flyweight champion Juan Estrada (22-2, 17 KOs), of Hermosillo, México, will be making the first defense of the titles he won from Brian Viloria on April 6 at the CotaiArena. Estrada will be facing undefeated Milan Melindo (28-0, 11 KOs), of Manadue, Philippines. Melindo, the number one contender and mandatory challenger, earned his shot at the title by knocking out once-beaten Tommy Seran in the fourth round on the April 6 card.
Undefeated IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8 KOs), a native of Russia, now fighting from Oxnard, California, will be making his first title defense against No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Mauricio Muñoz (26-3, 12 KOs), of San Juan, Argentina. Gradovich captured the world title on March 1 when he dethroned defending champion Billy Dib via a split decision. Muñoz earned his title shot by defeating previously unbeaten contender Luis Franco in his last fight, October 13, 2012.
The international telecast will open with a 10-round heavyweight rumble between undefeated contenders Andy Ruiz, Jr. (18-0, 12 KOs), of Mexicali, Mexico, and Joe Hanks (21-0, 14 KOs), of Los Angeles.
The undercard will also feature Genesis Servania (19-0, 6 KOs), of Cebu City, Philippines, in an eight-round super bantamweight bout against Konosuke Tomiyama (23-5-1, 8 KOs), of Tokyo, Japan; Paul Fleming (17-0, 12 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, in an eight-round super featherweight bout against Mike Tawatchai (26-1-1, 17 KOs), of Bangkok, Thailand; and Dodie Boy Peñalosa (10-0, 8 KOs) and Dave Peñalosa (5-0, 3 KOs), both from Cebu City, Philippines, in separate six-round featherweight and four-round super bantamweight bouts, respectively. Their opponents will be announced at a later date. Fleming and the Peñalosas were all knockout victors on the April 6 card.
ZOU SHIMING: Fists of Gold II kicks off at 6 p.m. on July 27 at the CotaiArena. Once details are announced, ticket sales will be available at all CotaiTicketing box offices and can be booked online at www.CotaiTicketing.com or www.HKTicketing.com.