Zou Shiming to challenge Amnat Ruenroeng for IBF flyweight title

February 17, 2015

Zou Shiming's learn-on-the-fly education into professional boxing will continue at its breakneck pace, as Shiming will take on his biggest challenge yet when he faces current International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight world champion Amnat Ruenroeng on Saturday, March 7, at The Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena.

After winning three World Championships and two Olympic gold medals as an amateur, the talented Shiming is competing in just his seventh professional fight, and is only 23 months removed from his professional debut.  Zou is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBO and No. 4 by the IBF.

"We are preparing for the Shiming Dynasty," said Zou's Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach.  "There are no holidays in training camp when a world title is at stake."

Making the Zou-Ruenroeng fight even more intriguing is the history between these two warriors.  Their amateur trilogy began with Thailand's Ruenroeng winning their first battle at the 2007 King's Cup, followed by Zou winning the next two times they fought, including a close victory in their semi-final of the 2010 Asian Games.

The Zou Shiming-Amnat Ruenroeng World Flyweight Championship fight will be televised via same-day delay on HBO2, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT.  The HBO2 telecast will open with a 10-round NABO junior middleweight title fight between Glen Tapia (22-1, 14 KOs) of New Jersey, and one-time world title challenger Daniel Dawson(40-4-1, 26 KOs) of Australia.

"Beloved in the Peoples' Republic of China and an incredible talent, Zou has earned his right to fight for a professional world championship belt," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

Zou (6-0, 1 KO), from Guizhou, China, returns to the ring fresh from his most impressive professional victory -- a 12-round unanimous decision win over undefeated No. 3 contender Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym in a world flyweight title elimination bout.

 Zou scored three knockdowns en route to a 119-106, 119-106, and 120-103 victory over his vastly more experienced opponent.  He showed his mettle by fighting through numerous head butts that swelled his left eye shut as well as weathering numerous low blows.

Zou was one of the world's greatest amateur light flyweights, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007, and 2011, along with gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games.

Ruenroeng (14-0, 5 KOs), of Si Racha, Thailand, has his own Bernard Hopkins-like rags-to-riches backstory, as he overcame a troubled past to reach the pinnacle of his division.

Beating a severe drug addiction and enduring three prison terms, Ruenroeng found his salvation through a prison boxing program that saw him become a national amateur champion, while still an inmate, as a member of the Thai Corrections Department team.  A bronze medalist at the 2007 World Amateur Championships in Chicago and a member of Thailand's 2008 Olympic team, Ruenroeng made his professional debut in 2012 when he didn't make the 2012 Olympic team.

He made his presence known to his division in his second year as a professional, winning the IBF/Asia flyweight title and successfully defending it three times.  He captured the vacant IBF flyweight world title on January 22, 2014, scoring a unanimous decision over Rocky Fuentes.

Ruenroeng's first title defense was a "road" win against unbeaten two-division world champion Kazuto Ioka, in Japan, last May 7.  In his most recent title defense, on September 10, Ruenroeng survived a knockdown en route to a split decision victory over mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo.

The undercard will feature Jose Felix, Jr. (28-1-1, 23 KOs), from Los Mochis, Mexico, battling Raymond Sermona, (17-4-5, 8 KOs), of Manila, in an eight-round lightweight bout which will be televised via same-day delay on UniMás, and Top-10 contenders Ik Yang (17-0, 12 KOs), of Dalian, China, and Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-2-1, 18 KOs), of Kalasin, Thailand, squaring off in a 12-round IBF junior welterweight title elimination bout.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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