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It Is About China!
The real story was not Zou Shiming winning his debut fight with a unanimous decision over Eleazar Valenzuela but where the fight was; in Macao, China. The folks at Top Rank are looking at China along with the rest of Asia as a new market.
Much of the sporting world is going international and boxing is no different. When was the last time we saw a worthwhile Heavyweight title fight in America? Klitschko’s brothers are the heavyweight division and their biggest challenge or toughest competition resides in Europe. Klitschko’s brothers discovered that they could make more money staying in Europe as oppose to fighting in the States. The shuttle butt was that this televised fight may have been seen by more fans than any other fights in history as millions of Chinese tuned into see Shiming, an Olympic Gold medalist and newest Chinese sport hero.
As for the fight card, Shiming hurt his opponent in the second round but was not able to finish the fight. For Top Rank, they view Shiming a potential superstar and possible champion in the next year. Just in case anyone care about the rest of card. WBO and WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria lost his titles in a split decision to Juan Francisco Estrada. Estrada pressure proved decisive as his punches swelled Viloria’s face and open a cut over the champion’s face.
In another championship bout, WBO super featherweight champion Roman Martinez outhustled Diego Magdaleno by winning a split decision. Martinez sent Magdalena down in the fourth round and that knockdown may have been the difference as Martinez won one of the judges’ cards by one point. If nothing else, you had two championship bouts decided by split decision but they were overshadowed by a four round debut fight of an Olympic gold medalist.
As for Shiming, his debut was not spectacular but he won 40-36 on all the judges and that showed the unanimous nature of the victory. Shiming’s trainer, Freddie Roach views his fighter will be ready for world title by next year and Top Rank is hoping he is right.
Bob Arum made inroads within the Hispanic communities as he promoted Hispanic fighters and positioned himself among the fastest growing demographics. Top Rank also round itself in competition with Golden Boys for the same demographics as one of Top Rank former stars, Oscar De La Hoya, decided to promote his own fight and set up his own promotion company.
Top Rank foray into the Asia markets is a way to leap frog Golden Boy and become once again, the king of the boxing world. With Manny Pacquiao stating that he considering having his next fight outside the United States due to recent tax increases. As an Asian superstar, there is no doubt that a Pacquiao fight in the Asia market would produce some record numbers of PPV, especially if he includes Shiming on the undercard. Shiming won a fight but Top Rank won something else, a new market and new fans for boxing.