MACAU (AP) — Zou Shiming treated the home crowd to an entertaining win Sunday, knocking down Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym three times on his way to a foul-plagued unanimous decision on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri title fight.
The Olympic gold medalist dominated the fight most of the way, but his Thai opponent never stopped coming forward and the two engaged in some good exchanges late in the fight that had the sellout crowd cheering at the final bell.
Fighting for only the sixth time as a pro, Zou was cut over his left eye by an apparent head butt in the middle rounds and had to deal with an opponent who tried everything he could to overcome a talent and strength advantage. Zou’s left eye was nearly swollen at the end of the bout and he looked worse than Kwanpichit, though he won by a lopsided margin on the three ringside scorecards.
“My eye really bothered me but I fought through it,” Zou said. “It was the toughest fight I ever had.”
Zou, who won gold medals in the Beijing and London Olympics, joined fellow double gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine as big winners on the card at the Venetian Macau. He remained unbeaten as a pro in a fight that paid him $700,000.
Kwanpichit went down three times, was penalized for a low blow, and was warned for head butts as he tried to pull an upset. But he was beaten 119-106 on two scorecards and 120-103 on the third.
Promoters said that if Zou won, he would headline a Feb. 14 fight card in Macau in a 112-pound title bout, though it will probably now be later because his cut will need time to heal.
“I want to fight for the world title,” Zou said. “I want to win it for China, do it right here.”
Lomachenko, fighting in only his fourth pro bout, looked skilled far beyond his experience as he overcame a broken left hand to win every round against veteran Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand.
Lomachenko successfully defended his 126-pound title by knocking Piriyapinyo down in the fourth round and then using his right hand to pile up points in what turned into a lopsided contest.
“I want to fight nothing but champions,” said Lomachenko, who won his title in his last fight after losing his first bid for a title in only his second pro fight.
Lomachenko won gold medals for Ukraine in 2008 and 2012 and was widely considered the top amateur boxer in the world before turning pro.
In another fight, Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas retained his 130-pound title with a hard-fought decision over Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco.
Vargas dominated the early rounds, building up a cushion on the scorecards. But DeMarco came back midway through the fight to make it competitive before Vargas won the final two rounds.
Vargas, who remained unbeaten in 26 pro fights, won 116-112 on all three ringside scorecards. He was fighting with former boxing great Roy Jones Jr. working his corner as a trainer before moving across the ring to be a commentator on the HBO pay-per-view telecast.
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