Zou Shiming is a very rare type of fighter.
Not only did he win back to back Olympic Gold for China in the 2008 and 2012 games, but earlier this year he started his professional career at the age of 32 with the goal of becoming a world champion.
That in itself is out of the ordinary - Especially for a Chinese fighter because professional boxing had been banned there for quite some time.
Besides his natural talent as a prize fighter, the biggest asset Shiming has is hall-of-fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. But Freddie can't perform miracles; he's still working with a 32 year old who turned pro just three months ago.
"I don't have the convenience of time with Shiming cause he's a little bit older but him being in 3 Olympics; I think we can push him a little faster," Roach said. Freddie Roach has been training his fighter in DEF boxing gym in Hong Kong.
Shiming will have his second pro fight this Saturday, July 27, when he fights Jesus Ortega 3-1 with 2 KO's of Mexico in a scheduled 6 round bout in the flyweight division at the Venetian Casino and Resort televised live in the U.S. on HBO2.
Trainer Freddie Roach has been very candid in his thoughts on his flyweight's progress as a future champion. Roach tweeted that if Shiming intends to reach his goal he better start fighting more like a pro.
"He has to really learn to sit down on his punches more, get rid of that amateur style that he has had for such a long time."
Shiming does have that championship caliber talent in him, Roach explained, "His people told me we need to be more impressive. I said, 'Hey, you know, usually it takes four years for an Olympian to go to a world title. But you guys are on the fast track.' We're trying as fast as we can."
"It's just getting him used to that and getting him to do it. On the mitts, he's beautiful. But in sparring, we're not quite there yet. It's a process, and it takes time to change people."
Shiming is a good student of the Sweet Science and he appears to be following Freddie's instructions closely. He also agrees with Freddie's assessment of his performance:
"There's a big difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing. Amateur boxing, I'm successful and I have many rich experiences in amateur boxing. But now in professional boxing, I'm still a freshman, so I need to try more in professional boxing, how the fighters win by knockout."
Shiming's opponent Saturday is Mexican boxer Jesus "Jibarito" Ortega. He said he's ready to make a statement in Macau, China when he battles the Chinese superstar.
"I feel very motivated about this fight, which can project my career even though we're just starting. Shiming is a fighter renowned for everything he did as an amateur, but let's show him professional boxing is another thing and take the opportunity. I watched Shiming's debut against Eleazar Valenzuela and I know that I can win.
He added, "I know I have the talent to overcome him. I worry about the fight being in China. I'll have to win round after round and if I have the opportunity to knock him out, I'll do it," Ortega said.
In his fight with Valenzuela, Shiming dominated the four round bout, but was unable to knock down or knockout his opponent. Roach said, "He won it on points, and that doesn't really cut it in the professional game. People want to see knockouts."
"Shiming has power in both hands. He hits very hard. He can be a knockout artist, because he shows that in the gym. After a few fights he will settle down," said Roach.
Promoter Bob Arum is excited about the Chinese flyweight. Before his debut fight last April Arum said he'd be willing to match Shiming against "Anybody in the world up to bantamweight."
Shiming will probably win this six round flyweight fight but the real test will be how well-received a Chinese flyweight will be on the undercard of a world championship fight in Vegas.