NEW YORK (AP) — A 6-foot-6 Chinese super heavyweight who won the Olympic silver medal in 2008 is the first fighter to join Dino Duva’s promotion company.
Zhang Zhilei will continue his pro career with Dynasty Boxing. Duva is partners in the group with Tommy and Terry Lane, sons of Hall of Fame referee Mills Lane.
Duva is the son of Hall of Fame trainer-manager Lou Duva. He has worked with heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, George Foreman and Riddick Bowe.
Zhang says while growing up he watched broadcasts of bouts featuring Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Foreman, Holyfield and the Klitschko brothers.
“I hope that I can win a golden belt someday, too,” Zhang said. “Amateur boxing has fewer rounds, and the points determine the winner. You will fight a couple of different fights in a competition period to win the whole (amateur) tournament. Professional boxing has more rounds. It’s very important to be in top shape.”
The 31-year-old boxer was stopped by Italy’s Roberto Cammarelle in the gold medal bout at the Beijing Games. He lost in the quarterfinals at the London Olympics to Anthony Joshua of Britain. He won two bronze medals in the world championships.
Zhang believes the way fighters train in the United States is superior to how they work out back home.
“It was hard to get used to at first, just like when I first started boxing,” Zhang said. “But things went smoother after about the first week. I felt comfortable and I believe that I can go the distance. You have to do much (more) than anybody else if you want to be the one.”
Duva believes Zhang is the one for the future in the heavyweight division, even though the Chinese boxer is getting a late start in the pros. Duva said Dynasty will concentrate on fighters from China.
“It’s a sincere pleasure to get back into the promotion business, especially with these unique and special Chinese boxers being a major part of it,” he said. “Of course, we will be looking to promote other great boxers from across the country and world as we go forward. But our major focus right now will be developing the Chinese boxers and market.
“Zhang will be the most important heavyweight to come along since the Klitschkos.”