By: William Holmes
HBO decided to broadcast Zou Shiming’s second professional bout today on their sister station HBO2 from Macau, China. This is the second fight for Shiming on HBO and it will be the last televised fight from Macau before Manny Pacquiao’s PPV fight against Brandon Rios in November.
Today’s crowd seemed more raucous and excited than the previous crowd at Shiming’s professional debut.
Milan Melindo (29-0) looked to score the Philippines a long needed title shot victory against Juan Francisco Estrada (24-2) for the WBO/WBA Flyweight Title. Estrada looked to make it to victories in a row against Filipino boxers and he did not disappoint.
Melindo came to fight, and he did well in the early rounds as both fighters landed telling blows in the first round. Melindo’s left hooks were landing early, and he nearly put Estrada down in the fourth round and had him staggered in the fifth.
Estrada, however, began to pick up the pace in the later rounds, as he must have felt that he was falling behind on the cards. His punch output was starting to wear down the Filipino fighter, and he knocked down Melindo with a vicious right hand in the eleventh round. Melindo was lucky to escape the round.
Estrada went for the finish in the twelfth round, but Melindo was somehow able to survive. The fight could have been stopped in the final round, but Estrada won on the cards with scores of 117-109, 118-109, and 118-109.
Evgeny Gradovich (16-0) made his first defense of his IBF Featherweight title against Maucio Munoz (26-3-1). Gradovich won the belt against Billy Dib earlier this year.
Gradovich scored a wide decision against a game but overmatched Munoz. The bout started off slowly, and Gradovich began to show his dominance in the second round when he hurt Munoz with several hard punches.
Munoz attempted to focus on the body of Gradovich, but Gradovich adjusted his strategy and outboxed Munoz from the outside. Gradovich’s two-punch combinations were landing consistently. Munoz was able to force some wild and hard exchanges, but Gradovich was doing a masterful job of moving and countering him.
Munoz’s corner spilled water in his corner in the ninth round, forcing a stern warning from the referee. Munoz made a valiant effort to try and come back, but another strong round from Gradovich in the eleventh ended the thoughts of a late round comeback.
The final scores were 120-108, 119-109, and 119-109 for Gradovich.
Zou Shiming (1-0) took on the young and inexperienced Jesus Ortega (3-1) in the main event in the flyweight division.
This bout was scheduled for six rounds and Ortega made the fight more competitive than expected. The crowd, as expected, was strongly supporting their hometown hero.n
Shiming came out like a ball of fire, likely because of the criticism from his professional debut, and was landing a high volume of punches. Yet one of his punches appeared to hurt Ortega, who fought back hard. He had a good showing in the second round and was able to land an alarmingly high number of punches on the former Gold Medalist.
Luckily for Shiming, Ortega was unable to land any damaging shots. By the last two rounds, it was hard to tell that Shiming had previously won a gold medal, as Ortega was successful in drawing Shiming away from boxing and into engaging in a brawl.
Shiming was still clearly the better fighter at the end. The final scores were 59-55 on all three scorecards.