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Zou and Manny returning in April

By Murray Greig ( China Daily )

Updated: 2017-01-12

The two biggest names in Asian boxing will return to the ring on separate cards in April.

On April 1 at the Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao, Zou Shiming of Zunyi, Guizhou province, will make his first defense of the IBF world flyweight title he captured in November.

His opponent has not yet been signed.

On April 23, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines will defend his WBO welterweight crown against Australia's Jeff Horn at a venue to be decided.

Both champions are promoted by Las Vegas-based Top Rank.

"Zou is going back to Macao to headline an all-star card," Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.

China's double Olympic gold medalist (9-1, 2 KOs), who is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, notched a lopsided decision over Thailand's Prasitsak Phaprom to win the title on the undercard of Pacquiao's Nov 5 victory over Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas.

"When Zou won the title here in Vegas and it was on TV in China on Sunday morning with Pacquiao and Vargas, over 90 million homes were watching his fight," said Arum.

"I don't care how big a country China is, 90 million homes is more than watched the Super Bowl in the US."

Duco Events, which is promoting Pacquiao's upcoming bout, said on Wednesday the site could be Horn's hometown of Brisbane or in either the Middle East or the US.

"The preference for all parties is for the fight to be held in Australia, and we are working towards that outcome," said Duco director Dean Lonergan, who met with Arum this week.

Arum said the bout will be televised in 159 countries and regions, including the US, where it will air on free TV.

"It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and US," said Arum.

Pacquiao, 59-6-2, earned more than $100 million while losing to Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight ever in 2013.

Horn (16-0-1) is a 28-year-old former schoolteacher who fought at the 2012 London Olympics. He is ranked No 2 in the world by the WBO.


(China Daily 01/12/2017 page24)

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