Photo: Devin Lloyd, The Ventian Las Vegas
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming of Beijing joined Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, and assorted VIPs to celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve on Saturday night at The Venetian Las Vegas. Shiming and his dinner partners rang in the Year of the Snake at a traditional six-course Chinese New Year celebration banquet which featured braised abalone and bird’s nest soup. The celebration also included a dragon dance and popular entertainers from the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong.
Shiming, the only Chinese boxer to win Olympic gold, is in Las Vegas preparing for his professional debut under the guidance of trainers Roach and Miguel Diaz. Promoted by Arum’s Top Rank, Shiming will make his pro debut, in a four-round flyweight bout, Saturday, April 6, at The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel® in Macau. The card will also feature two world championship fights – WBA/WBO flyweight champion Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Villoria defending his titles against Juan Francisco Estrada and WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez defending his title against undefeated #2 contender Diego Magdaleno.
“Freddie and Miguel are very impressed with how quickly Zou has acclimated to the pro style of boxing,” said Arum. “The Chinese may be celebrating the Year of the Snake, but boxing is about to enter the golden era of the Shiming Dynasty.”
“It’s been a great experience here in Las Vegas, I really enjoy working with my trainers, Freddie and Miguel. I’m learning something new every day and I’m getting fitter, faster, and stronger,” said Shiming. “The Venetian New Years banquet was a lot of fun. I sat with Mr. Arum and his wife, Lovee. The music, the food, and the room were very well done. I’m looking forward to my first fight and I will do everything to ensure I’m well prepared. Getting into the ring with Freddie Roach is a dream; he is teaching me everything I need to know to make the transition to a professional.”
Shiming, one of the most popular Olympic athletes in the People’s Republic of China, is the world’s greatest amateur light flyweight, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007, and 2011 while capturing gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also captured an Olympic bronze medal in the 2004 games, making him his nation’s first Olympic medalist in boxing as well as its first boxing gold medalist in the World Amateur Championships and the Olympics.
Known for his extraordinary speed and superb footwork, thanks to years of martial arts training, many of Shiming’s opponents complain that they cannot keep up with him much less see his punches coming. He has stated that his heroes are Muhammad Ali and Jackie Chan.