By Charles Jay
Shiming Zou could be off and running toward another gold medal.
The Chinese star is ranked #2 in the world by AIBA, and got a bye out of the first round of light flyweight competition in the 2012 Olympics, placed as the #1 seed.
He is 30 years old, and has been competing on the world level for a long time. So this might be his last chance to really etch his name into the record books.
On Saturday afternoon (London time) used his experience in the opening round match against Yosbany Veitia Soto of Cuba and pulled out a hard-earned win as he tries to make it back-to-back titles.
Zou won all three rounds against his younger (20 years old) opponent, but they were all by one point. Zou took each of the first two rounds by a 4-3 margin and then won the last round 6-5 to make the final score 14-11. But Veitia landed his share of shots.
Even in defeat, it still wasn’t a bad experience for the Cuban, who.entered boxing competition as the #22 AIBA light flyweight, but competed at a much higher level than that as he blitzed Billy Ward of Australia by a 26-4 score in opening round action.
Veitia lost to Pürevdorjiin Serdamba of Mongolia at the 2011 World Amateur Championships, and won the silver medal in the Pan Am Games last year as well. He should have a bright future.
For Zou, the future is most definitely now. he’s been around for a while, and indeed competed in 2004 Olympics, winning the bronze as he defeated American Rau’shee Warren along the way. He then won the World Amateur Championship in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
Zou is also the defending Olympic champion in the light flyweight class. In fact, it was a significant occasion, as he became the first boxer from China to win a gold, and did it in Beijing no less.
That victory may have been tainted in the minds of many, as the opponent, the aforementioned Serdamba, who had beaten him in the Asian Games the year before, had to bow out with a shoulder injury. Serdamba is in the light flyweight field again in 2012, and a potential rematch looms for the right to go to the medal round.
This time Zou could have a chance to leave no doubt about the outcome. First he’ll have to face Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan, who advanced with a controversial 17-16 win over 19-year-old Mark Barriga of the Philippines.