By: William Holmes
Much has been made about the Al Haymon apparent takeover of professional boxing on prime time television, as the boxing mogul’s Premier Boxing Champions Series now has agreements in place with Showtime, CBS, NBC, Spike, NBC Sports and a rumored plan with ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
However, the PBC Series does not have an agreement with HBO, and the PBC’s arch rival, Top Rank Promotions, will broadcast a card from Macau, China on HBO2 on Saturday at 5:00 P.M. ET. Zou Shiming will go for his first legitimate world title in the main event as he takes on Amnat Ruenroeng for Ruenroeng’s IBF Flyweight title. New Jersey native Glen Tapia will take on Daniel Dawson in the co-feature bout of the night.
The following is a preview of the two main bouts on Saturday’s Top Rank card.
Glen Tapia (22-1, 14 KOs) vs. Daniel Dawson (40-4-1, 26 KOs); Junior Middleweights
“Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia hasn’t been seen on TV since his hard fought sixth round TKO loss to James Kirkland in December of 2013. He has fought twice since then against overmatched opponents that resulted in early stoppages, and this will be his first real test since his first professional loss.
Tapia will be twelve years younger than his opponent Daniel Dawson, and he will also have about a two-inch height advantage and a two-and-half-inch reach advantage.
Tapia has the edge in amateur experience as he compiled an amateur record of 130-13 and competed in several noted amateur tournaments. Dawson doesn’t have the amateur experience of Tapia, but he is a former world champion in Muay Thai Boxing and Kick Boxing.
Tapia has stopped fourteen of his opponents including four of his past five victories. Dawson has stopped twenty-six of his opponents, but has only stopped two of his past five opponents.
Neither Tapia or Dawson have yet to win a major world title. Dawson has defeated the likes of Virgil Kalakoda and Jason LeHoullier. He has lost to the likes of Daniel Geale, Serhiy Dzinziruk, Frank LoPorto, and Austin Trout.
Dawson did have Trout in trouble when they fought in August of 2014 when he knocked Trout down twice in the third round, but he tired towards the end of the fight and was knocked down in the eighth round before losing by a wide margin on the scorecards.
Tapia has defeated the likes of Donatas Bondorovas, Abraham Han, Ayi Bruce, and Keenan Collins. His lone loss was to James Kirkland. Tapia is currently trained by Freddie Roach.
While this looks to be one of Tapia’s toughest fights since his loss to Kirkland, it’s a bout that he should still win easily. Dawson loses nearly every time he steps up in competition and is pushing near the age of 40.
Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5 KOs) vs. Zou Shiming (6-0, 1 KO); IBF Flyweight Title
Saturday will be the first time that Shiming has ever fought for a legitimate world title, but this will be the fourth time Ruenroeng and Shiming have met inside the ring. They fought each other three times as an amateur with Ruenroeng winning their first bout at the 2007 King’s Cup and Shiming victorious the next two times they fought.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur background. Ruenroeng served three prison terms but became a national amateur champion while incarcerated through a prison boxing program. He also won the bronze medal in the 2007 World Amateur Championships and qualified to represent Thailand in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Shiming’s amateur background is well documented and he is China’s most successful amateur boxer of all time. He won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics and the gold medal in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He immediately signed with Top Rank after the 2012 Summer Olympics, and has been headlining cards at the Venetian Macao ever since.
Shiming has been showing signs of improvement each time he has stepped into the ring, but it is clear that he does not have the power that most boxing fans crave. He has only stopped one opponent and that came in the seventh round of an eight round bout. Ruenroeng isn’t known for his power either, and only has six stoppage victories on his resume. Only two of his last five professional fights resulted in a stoppage.
Both boxers are past their physical prime. Ruenroeng is thirty-five years old and Shiming is thirty-three. They are about the same height, but Ruenroeng will have a significant five-inch reach advantage.
Ruenroeng has faced the better opposition so far. He has defeated the likes of a one loss McWilliams Arroyo, an undefeated Kazuto Ioka, and he defeated Rocky Fuentes for the IBF belt. Despite only having six fights, Shiming has faced decent opposition. He has defeated the likes of Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym, Luis De La Rosa, and Yokthong KKP. It should be noted that Ruenroeng’s last two victories came by split decision .
Ruenroeng’s reach should give Shiming problems, but Shiming has defeated Ruenroeng twice before and has only improved in the ring while training under the tutelage of Freddie Roach. This bout will likely go all twelve rounds and this writer has a hard time seeing judges in China give Ruenroeng the nod if the bout goes to the scorecards. Ruenroeng should lose by decision, and the most likely way he can pull off the upset is if he suddenly discovers knockout power and stops Shiming early.