Photos: Will Hart
By Kieran Mulvaney
Zou Shiming scored four knockdowns – but had to overcome a badly swollen and cut left eye and a determined and resilient opponent with an occasional predilection for landing low and leading with the head – en route to a 12-round unanimous decision win in flyweight action.
Zou – who, lest we forget, because of his massive popularity in China is The Reason We Are All in Macau™ – began brightly, dropping Thai opponent and Manny Pacquiao doppelganger Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym face-first to the canvas twice in round two, on both occasions courtesy of straight right hands. A flurry at the end of the round might have resulted in an early ending to the contest had not the bell rung when it did; but, despite dropping his opponent again in the sixth, and once more in the twelfth (this final call a more controversial one, as it appeared the two men basically dragged each other to the canvas), Zou had to endure some torrid times before hearing the final bell.
OnesongchaiGym clearly had no intention of performing a role purely as The Opponent, and attacked Zou as best he could, whenever he could – his determination to hit his foe wherever and with whatever he could earning him a point deduction in the sixth and a couple of stern warning. Despite on occasion landing flush on his foe’s chin, the Thai fighter rarely looked strong or capable enough to cause the upset.
The final scores – 119-106 twice and 120-103 – were perhaps a smidgen harsh, but not overly so. Zou, who improves his professional record to 6-0 with just 1 KO, remains a work in progress, and will need to be matched carefully as his career progresses. But the roar of the crowd with every punch he landed underlined the reason for wanting to do so: he is hugely popular among his home fans, and with exciting performances likes this he will surely – for all his limitations – become only more so.