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Zou Shiming loses WBO title after shock knock-out

(CNTV)    13:50, July 30, 2017

Zou Shiming and Sho Kimura in the ring. (Photo/People's Daily)

Zou Shiming, China’s boxing superstar and two-time Olympic gold medalist, failed to defend the WBO world flyweight title on Friday after a technical knock out (TKO) by his Japanese opponent Sho Kimura in the 11th round of a 12-round contest at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.

Zou started off confidently, controlling the ring and landing an aggressive flurry of punches which made Kimura stagger in the second round.

But the Chinese fighter dropped his hands throughout the fight and the 28-year-old Japanese underdog repeatedly piled forward for furious left-right combinations, despite suffering a heavily bleeding cut eye.

Trapped on the ropes and bombarded with a barrage of punches, Zou collapsed flat on the canvas in physical exhaustion and failed to get up in the 11th round. Filipino referee Danrex Tapdasan eventually declared a TKO victory for Japan’s seventh-ranked Kimura, who became the country’s 11th current world champion.

Zou Shiming and Sho Kimura in the ring. (Photo/CCTV)

“Though I lost, I helped draw attention to boxing to millions of Chinese, and I think it was worth it,” roared the emotional Zou after getting up from the canvas one minute after the sensational knockout.

“We Chinese boxers have always been looked down upon and lost to foreigners, but we still have to safeguard the dignity of Chinese people. That is the reason why I’m still here despite already grabbing the belt and Olympic title,” 36-year-old Zou sobbed, while also extending gratitude to the crowd in Shanghai for its support.

Zou (9-2-0, 2 KOs) was the men's light flyweight gold medalist at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games. He claimed the WBO title last November in Las Vegas against Thailand’s Prasitsak Phaprom.

Japanese boxer Kimura (15-1-2, 8 KOs), who used to work part-time delivering crates of beer in a Tokyo restaurant, suffered a KO loss on his debut in 2013 but gained momentum throughout his career to win the WBO Asia Pacific title in Osaka last year.

Stunned by Zou's unexpected loss, Chinese netizens still flooded social media platform Weibo to show overwhelming support for the boxing hero.

“Heroes are not defined by a single success or loss,” @huihuiwoxinfeixiang commented. “You are our hero for all the contributions you have made in promoting boxing in China.”

“We are proud of Zou though he was defeated. After all, he was eight years older than Kimura,” @Zhaoyan1996525 said in appreciation of the 36-year-old, who vowed to keep fighting for China’s boxing by promoting the sport and training more top boxers for the country.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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