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China's Zhang and Li bring home two bronzes from Milan Worlds
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08:05, September 22, 2009

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China's super heavyweight Zhilei Zhang and light flyweight Jiazhao Li brought home two bronze medals at the newly-concluded World Boxing Championships in Milan, Italy.

Zhang, an Olympic silver medalist and 2007 Worlds' second runner-up took on a three-week intensive training camp with Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva who has handled some of the world's most renowned fighters, including the only four-time heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield, before the World Championships in Pennsylvania, United States.

The Chinese giant fought well in the first three rounds' competitions, wining big with a score of 11-5, 12-8, and 6-2, respectively, to storm into the Final Four.

Zhilei Zhang, right, a bronze medalist at 2007 World Boxing Championships brought home a second bronze from Milan Worlds. (People's Daily online Photo/Zhenyu Li)

He fell short of his semifinal clash after a lackluster first two rounds, losing 0-4 and was halted one round before the final.

"Zhilei should've been better," Zhang's long-time handler Jinhua Gu told this journalist after the fight. "He got off on the wrong foot. Actually, they (Zhang and his semifinal opponent) are fifty-fifty. Overall, he is up to the mark."

Jiazhao Li is the other Chinese fighter who made it into the semi finals.

Fighting under the shadow of famed Grand Slam champion Shiming Zou who has one Olympic gold, two Worlds' golds, one Olympic bronze and one Olympic bronze on his illustrious resume, Li almost had never had the chance to step into the international ring.

Making his Worlds' debut, the light flyweight rookie Jiazhao Li struck a huge stunning blow in his first showing, dominating his foe from Nicaragua with a wide margin of 21-3.

After whipping his second opponent from Morocco, Li met the No.3 ranked Polish Kukasz Maszczyk in the last 8.

The substitute for China's boxing kingpin Shiming Zou started out slow, edging his rivalry by a 2-1 margin, yet it was the only point the Polish connected throughout the entire confrontation.

Utilizing his speed and quick reflexes, the Chinese put on a furious second-round sole show, completely dominating his foe with a score of 7-0, taking a 9-1 wide lead into the last stanza.

He renewed his dominance battering the European boxer by a large margin of 5-0 before referee stepped in to stop this meaningless mismatch.

Li locked up a bronze after winning the biggest fight of his career.

Rolling into the semi finals, the man standing in front of him was Mongolian Serdamba Purevdorj, a Beijing Olympic silver medalist who went on to grab the gold in light flyweight at the Worlds.

The Chinese got off to a flying start, wining the first round 3-1.

With his evident favored experience at the international circuit, the seasoned Mongolian soon adjusted to Li's style and stormed back.

At the sound of the final buzzer, Li was trailed by a score of 7-11.

In spite of losing in the semifinal encounter, the Chinese rookie has shown to the world that even with no international experience, he could still bag home a bronze at Worlds, indicating China's super edge at the light flyweight.

With China's best boxers like Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou and Xiaoping Zhang absent from the national lineup and the team consisting mostly of rookies who just made their international debut, it is fair to say that Team China did a decent job at the newly-concluded World Boxing Championships in Milan, Italy.

"I am satisfied with the performance of our boxing athletes at the Worlds overall," Jianping Chang, the president of the Chinese Boxing Association told this journalist after the Championships.

"We preserved our best contenders and sent a fresh team comprised mostly of raw talent. Those young prospects like Chao Li, Jiazhao Li and the likes had a fairly impressive run."

By Zhenyu Li, People's Daily online

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