China's Zou turns pro at 31
Two-time Olympic champion and three-time world amateur champion Zou Shiming is turning professional.
American promoter Bob Arum announced on Wednesday that he had signed the Chinese star.
"Zou is an incredible talent who is beloved in China," Arum said. "We will make every effort to ensure he has a spectacular career as a professional."
The 31-year-old fighter won the Olympic Games light-flyweight gold medal at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics after winning bronze in Athens in 2004.
He won world amateur titles in 2005, 2007 and 2011.
Zou became China's first Olympic medallist, first world amateur champion and first Olympic champion in boxing. Now he could step into the pro ranks and produce a landmark crown for China as well.
Zou, whose boxing hero is Muhammad Ali and martial arts idol is Jackie Chan, is set to make his pro debut April 6 on the Asian gambling resort hub of Macau.
Reigning world champions in the light-flyweight (49kg) division include Filipino John Riel Casimero, who has a record of 17-2 with 10 knockouts, Mexico's Adrian Hernandez (26-2 with one drawn and 16 knockouts) and Nicaragua's Roman Gonzalez (34-0 with 28 knockouts).
SPINKS TO FIGHT MOLINA
RON JACKSON writes that Carlos Molina and Cory Spinks will fight in an IBF light-middleweight eliminator in Chicago in February 1.
It has also been announced that British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price will face 41-year-old American Tony Thompson in Liverpool on February 23.
On the same card Kevin Satchell will defend his British and Commonwealth flyweight titles.
Welshman Gavin Rees will challenge WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner in Atlantic City on February 16.
On the undercard, heavyweights Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks meet in a return match. In November last year Mitchell lost his unbeaten record when he was knocked out in the second round.
IBF lightweight champion Lamont Peterson is set to defend his title against Kendall Holt at the Washington DC Armoury on February 22.
The WBC have elevated super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, to “Champion Emeritus” and declared the title vacant.
Sakio Bika and Nikola Sjekloca may meet for the vacant title in Atlantic City on February 16.
Juan Carlos Salgado is scheduled to defend his IBF junior lightweight belt against Argenis Mendis in Los Angeles on March 2.