By: William Holmes
HBO Broadcasted a triple header from the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel on Saturday afternoon and it featured the professional debut of two time Chinese Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming. Larry Merchant and George Foreman served as the analysts for HBO.
The first fight of the night was between Roman Martinez (26-1) and Diego Magdaleno (23-0) for the WBO Junior Lightweight title. The upper deck of arena was closed off but the lower section was filled.
The crowd in Macau was a lot more subdued than most US or European crowds for the opening bout, but that probably due to the fact that this was one of the few bouts that did not feature an Asian fighter. Magdaleno had quicker hands than Martinez, none of his punches appeared to have any affect on the champion. Martinez stalked Magdaleno throughout the whole bout and found a home for his straight right hand on the constantly moving southpaw consistently.
Magdaleno mainly tried to counter punch his opponent and landed more body punches than Martinez. Martinez however scored a knockdown in the fourth round that may have been the difference maker. A crisp two punch combination sent Magdaleno on his backside.
Martinez never stopped coming forward, even when Magdaleno was winning a majority of the middle rounds. An accidental head butt occurred in the fifth round, and he opened up a cut over Magdaleno’s left eye in the tenth round. Martinez picked up the pace in the final three rounds and had Magdaleno fighting backwards and likely won the last three rounds.
Martinez retained his title with a split decision by scores of 115-112 for Martinez, 116-111 for Magdaleno , and 114-113 for Martinez.
The next bout of the night was between Brian Viloria (32-3) and Juan Fracisco Estrada (22-2) for the WBO/WBA Flyweight title. Many thought Top Rank had plans of matching Viloria up with Shiming in the near future, Estrada however had different plans.
Both fighters fought orthodox, but Estrada looked significantly bigger inside the ring. Viloria started off strong, and was able to avoid many of Estrada’s punches and land some solid right hands. Estrada however began to focus on the body of Viloria in the second round and eventually wore Viloria down.
The early rounds were close, possibly in favor of Viloria, but the middle to late rounds were clearly in favor of Estrada. Estrada landed a blistering right hand in the fourth round and opened up a cut on Viloria’s face in the fifth round. As the rounds progressed Viloria looked slower and slower while the challenger looked stronger and stronger. By the twelfth round Viloria clearly needed a knockout to win, but it was Estrada who came close to stopping his opponent.
Viloria went down fighting, but Estrada wins the WBO/WBA Flyweight Championship by scores of 115-113 for Viloria, 116-111 for Estrada, and 117-111 for Estrada.
Two time Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming (0-0) took on Eleazar Valenzuela (2-1-2) in the junior flyweight division and the main event of the night. The crowd was clearly here to see Zou Shiming professional debut and loudly cheered as he came into the ring.
Valenzuela was slightly taller than Shiming, but height and reach was not a factor. Shiming appeared to be smiling for all four rounds and the fans in attendance cheered every single time he landed a punch. Shiming showed excellent head movement and was able to easily dodge the punches of Valenzuela and appeared to land almost at will.
His punches were a little wide at times but they were accurate. He hurt Valenzuela in the third round but he was unable to knockdown his younger and inexperienced opponent. It wasn’t a close fight and it appeared to be an easy victory.
Zou Shiming won his professional debut with scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards.