Top Rank's choice to open up the professional boxing market in China, Zou Shiming, rose to 2-0 with a unanimous decision win over Jesus Ortega of Mexico on Saturday in Macau.
The judges saw it 59-55, 59-55, 59-55, which looked about right to my eyes.
All in all, Shiming looked solid. He was more relaxed than in his debut, in April, and while he doesn't excite me to the point that I feel the need to drop everything to see him fight, he looks to be a competent professional. And this being the boxing "business," if that is enough to move the masses there to part with their money, then we shall see more Shiming doing his thing moving forward, even if his skill-set doesn't inflame the passions of the American press or fight fans.
Shiming, trained by Freddie Roach, won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The 32-year-old boxer from China took on a 19-year-old in a flyweight (112 or less) contest. Ortega started out aggressively, and the two mixed it up right away. Shiming looked to be first with the jab, and looked to take the fight to the kid. He mixed his right high and low, and worked from the outside and in close, as well. He made Ortega miss, slipping smartly, in a solid first round at the Cotai Arena.
In the second, Shiming ( on right, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) again kept up a stiff pace. He had trouble landing the left hook, which Ortega was slipping adeptly. His jab was on message, though, and kept the Mexican from getting a rhythm. His sneaky-quick right wasn't a killer but landed and scored.
In the third, Ortega, who dropped to 3-2, had trouble getting untracked, as his busier foe heard Roach, and stepped up his attack even more. The distance between the two got tighter midway through, and that didn't really help Ortega as much as he hoped. Shiming did better, though, when he maintained some distance, and landed from outside. His footwork was much better than the more static Ortega.
In the fourth, it turned into a bit of rumble in the first minute. Shiming, the more seasoned, skilled and composed boxer, showed the better defense. He moved his head and feet and made Ortega miss often. When the Mexican did land, it didn't look like Shiming was that bothered. This might have been the tightest round to that point.
In the fifth, Ortega started out in an offensive mode, trying to take the fight to the hometowner. Too often, though, he was one and done, while Shiming put together two or more at a time. Shiming looked a tad sloppy by this point, perhaps owing to some fatigue. But he also knew Ortega probably couldn't hurt him, so that likely contributed to his looseness.
In the sixth and final round, Shiming dictated distance to his favor better early on. Then the distance closed, and the two traded a good deal. Shiming got the better of it. His sneaky right landed on Ortega's chin again and again. The crowd loved the zesty action in the final minute. We went to the card.
In other Macau action, Evgeny Gradovich won a 12-round unanimous decision over Mauricio Munoz to retain his IBF featherweight title. Also, WBO/WBA flyweight champion Juan Estrada won a 12-round unanimous decision over Milan Melindo to retain his crowns.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV