Zou Shiming to fight Jesus Ortega
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum will keep racking up the frequent-flier miles with trips to Macau now that his company has scheduled its second boxing card in the Chinese casino region for July 27.
Like the first card that took place there on April 6, this one will also be held at the CotaiArena at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel and be built around flyweight Zou Shiming, a Chinese national hero and two-time Olympic gold medalist who made his pro debut in the main event of the inaugural card.
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Arum said that Zou (1-0, 0 KOs), who won a four-round decision against Eleazar Valenzuela in April, will headline again as he moves into a scheduled six-round bout in his just his second pro fight. He is scheduled to face Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs) of Mexico.
Also like the initial show there, this one will feature a pair of world title fights and will be televised in the United States on a few hours' tape delay on HBO2.
"We're very pleased with the way the show came together," said Arum, who has long wanted to open the potentially lucrative Chinese market to world-class boxing. "I think everyone enjoyed our first show there and we're looking forward to doing more."
Featherweight Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8 KOs) of Russia will make his first title defense against mandatory challenger Mauricio Munoz of Argentina (26-3, 12 KOs) in one of the title bouts. Also, Juan Francisco Estrada (24-2, 18 KOs), who won a decision against Brian Viloria to claim a pair of world flyweight title belts on the April 6 undercard, will return to Macau for his first defense, a mandatory against the Philippines' Milan Melindo (29-0, 12 KOs), who also won on the April undercard by knocking out Tommy Seran in the fourth round.
"I think Estrada-Melindo will be well-anticipated [in Macau] because Estrada looked so good there against Viloria and Melindo knocked a guy cold on the undercard and now they are fighting each other," Arum said.
Also on the card -- in a fight that will air in the United States on same-day tape delay on UniMas' "Solo Boxeo Tecate" series -- undefeated heavyweight prospects Andy Ruiz (18-0, 12 KOs), born in Mexico and living in California, and Joe Hanks (21-0, 14 KOs), of Newark, N.J., will square off in a scheduled 10-round bout that could go a long way to producing a heavyweight prospect to watch.
"After the first show, that night, they asked us when could we come back," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said of Venetian officials.
"I'm looking forward to every one of these fights. Estrada-Melindo is a guaranteed fight of the year candidate with the way these guys like to go at it. Gradovich is in an interesting division against a good opponent. When you can put together two undefeated heavyweights it means something and has an immediate impact on the division and then you have Zou, who they love in China."
Top Rank already has its third card planned for the CotaiArena as well. It will play host to superstar Manny Pacquiao's return against Brandon Rios in a welterweight fight on HBO PPV on Nov. 24 (Nov. 23 in the United States for a prime time pay-per-view telecast because of the 12-hour time difference).
If Ruiz beats Hanks, Arum said he would bring him back to appear on the Pacquiao-Rios undercard.
"[Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce [Trampler] says that Andy Ruiz is a future heavyweight champion in the post-Klitschko era," Arum said. With three Macau cards scheduled, Arum said his company is not done.
"We'll have three in Macau this year and we're working on a show at the Venetian in Singapore for whenever they want it, maybe October," Arum said.