It was good to see boxing lifer Dino Duva back in a familiar context, talking about one of his future stars today in NYC. Duva has been off my radar the last couple of years, since his guy Sam Peter petered out, and his champ Ola Afolabi dropped a belt. But he hasn't been detoxed from the fight game; no sir, Duva has been busy planning the replenishment of his stable. This time around, Nigeria and the UK are out, and China is in. Duva, along with the Brothers Lane, Terry and Tommy, showed off their Olympic heavyweight, 6-6 lefty Zhang Zhilei today at Tao restaurant in NYC. Duva didn't proclaim him a current superstar, but said that within two years he should be a contender. Also, he thinks he has more upside than the Top Rank talent Zou Shiming, and has a style that well in the pros, he said.
We can expect a May or June debut, the veteran promoter told me. Also, read into this what you well, but HBO boxing boss Ken Hershamn popped in to the gathering, to wish Duva, the Lanes and big Zhang well. Read into that what you will...
Check out this release which went out today, synopsizing the signing and the event.
New York, March 10—A new “Dynasty” dawns today! Prominent boxing promoter Dino Duva has announced the launch of Dynasty Boxing, his latest promotional venture. Duva will be joined by the brothers Tommy and Terry Lane – sons of Hall of Fame referee Mills Lane – as partners in the enterprise.
Zhang Zhilei, the Chinese Super Heavyweight who captured the Olympic Silver Medal in Beijing in 2008, will be the first fighter to be promoted by Dynasty as the six-foot-six, highly-regarded prospect blasts off into the professional ranks.
For Duva, it has been a long journey of four years, hundreds of flights, and thousands of miles traveling between his New Jersey home base and China to cultivate the relationships with the Chinese Boxing Federation.
Dynasty Boxing will announce additional signings in the coming weeks.
Duva, the son of Hall of Fame trainer/manager Lou Duva, has specialized in promoting heavyweight boxers and champions, including Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, George Foreman, Samuel Peter, Riddick Bowe, and Kirk Johnson at various junctures in their careers.
For the brothers Lane, it is a long-awaited opportunity to take the next step as promoters, after years of watching their beloved father officiate major championship fights throughout the country, followed by their initial success venture, Nevada-based “Let’s Get It On” Promotions.
“It’s a sincere pleasure to get back into the promotion business, especially with these unique and special Chinese boxers being a major part of it,” said Duva. “Of course, we will be looking to promote other great boxers from across the country and world as we go forward. But our major focus right now will be developing the Chinese boxers and market.
I can't think of a better way to kick it all off than with the announcement of the signing of this very special "big guy," Zhang Zhilei,” added Duva. “He has the whole package – size, athleticism, good looks, and great personality. And one other thing: he knows how to fight! He has more of a pro style than Olympic style. Mark my words, once boxing fans get a chance to see him, he will be the talk of the heavyweight division and all of boxing! I believe he is going to be the most important heavyweight to come along since the Klitschkos turned pro in 1996.
“The Lanes and Duvas are long-time family friends, and couldn’t be happier doing business with first-class gentlemen who have great knowledge of the fight game,” wrapped up Duva.
Said the Lane Brothers: “We are extremely excited about this venture. The Chinese boxers like Zhang Zhilei are trailblazers. There’s no doubt that they will bring great pride to their country and provinces, and help bring big-time boxing to millions of people. We’re also very excited to partner with Dino Duva on what we think will be an historic venture."
(from left to right in Teddy Blackburn picture, great to see you, it's been too long Teddy! Kurt Li, Terry Lane, Zhang, Duva, Tommy Lane)
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