China's first boxing golds

Zhang Xiaoping and Zou Shiming win China's first boxing gold medals, while super heavyweight Zhang Zhilei settles for silver.
Zou Shiming of China, red, fights Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia, blue, to win gold during the men's light flyweight final.
Zou Shiming of China, red, fights Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia, blue, to win gold during the men's light flyweight final.

BEIJING // Light heavyweight Zhang Xiaoping has won China's second boxing gold medal, beating Kenny Egan of Ireland 11-7, two hours after the light flyweight Zou Shiming made history today with China's first gold medal in a sport long banned under Mao Zedong's regime. Zhang's achievement was the more surprising of the two results, given Zou is a double world champion and an Olympic bronze medallist from Athens in 2004. Zhang upset two medal favourites on his way to the title bout and took an early lead in an entertaining tussle against Egan, who repeatedly struggled to land scoring punches despite an active attack.

Zou set the ball rolling for China's gold medal day in the boxing arena after his opponent, the Mongolian light flyweight Serdamba Purevdorj, retired early in the second round of their title bout with an apparent shoulder injury. Zou had a 1-0 lead after a tentative first round, but the Mongolian coach threw in the towel just 19 seconds into the second. Purevdorj had been fighting with his right arm hanging limply at his side, though he was able to throw some punches sporadically. Zou's victory fulfils four years of high expectations for the two-time world champion, whose bronze medal in Athens was China's first in a sport long banned by Mao.

China failed to add a third gold in the super heavyweight division after Italy's Roberto Cammarelle stopped Zhang Zhilei in the final round for his second Olympic medal. Cammarelle is the defending world champion and a bronze winner in Athens. He picked apart the larger Zhang with combinations and sharp hooks before staggering him to the canvas early in the fourth round. The referee stopped the bout 19 seconds into the round because of the serious head blow.

*AP

Published: August 24, 2008 04:00 AM

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