Zou Shiming vs. Sho Kimura on Friday in Shanghai
Is Zou Shiming one of the best flyweights in the world today?
Is he considered one of the best because he has a world title belt?
At his age, who knows how much time Zou, 36, has left in boxing or if he decides to move up in weight and compete in the ultra-competitive 115-pound division?
For now, his focus is on Sho Kimura, who will challenge Zou for his WBO flyweight title Friday night at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China.
The 12-round bout will mark Zou’s first defense.
Zou (9-1, 2 knockouts) won the title in his most recent bout on November 5, dropping Prasitsak Phaprom in round two, en route to a one-sided decision victory in Las Vegas. Zou has won his last three bouts since losing to Amnat Ruenroeng in March of 2015.
Zou is very popular in China, where tens of millions of people tune in to watch his fights. He won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Should he defeat Kimura, will Zou be open to unifying against another beltholder at 112 pounds? There is WBA flyweight titleholder Kazuto Ioka or hard-hitting WBC beltholder Daigo Higa, both of whom hail from Japan.
There is also IBF titleholder Donnie Nietes of the Philippines.
There are many options to Zou, other than the three major titleholders, including Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina, Moruti Mthalane of South Africa or Francisco Rodriguez Jr. of Mexico.
Should Zou emerge victorious on Friday night, he does have former world titleholder and mandatory challenger Toshiyuki Igarashi waiting for him. If a unification bout does not go through, Zou could ask the WBO to face another voluntary defense or simply move up to 115 pounds.
That all depends on what challenge Zou wants to accept and how impressive he may look against Kimura on Friday.
After losing his pro debut, Kimura (14-1-2, 7 KOs) is unbeaten but his opposition has been less than average. In his most recent bout on May 13, Kimura knocked out Wisitsak Saiwaew, who entered the bout with a 4-4 record.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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