When Dino Duva signed an agreement with the Chinese Boxing Federation to train its amateur fighters in 2010, the Associated Press wrote: “Zhang Zhilei is a 6-foot-6, 240-pound southpaw who could make a major splash in a heavyweight division that has grown stale while being dominated by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko the past few years.”
Now, Zhang is ready to jump into the professional boxing waters, inking a promotional agreement with Duva’s Dynasty Boxing. The boxing Lane Brothers – Tommy and Terry, sons of the famous referee Mills Lane, are partners in the new venture.
The Chinese powerhouse nearly reached the zenith of amateur success in the summer of 2008, entering the Super Heavyweight Gold medal round at the Beijing Olympics against Italy’s Roberto Cammarelle. Having disposed of the Moroccan Mohamed Amaniss, Ruslan Myrsatayev from Kazakhstan and Vyacheslav Glazkov of Ukraine, all by large margins, he squared off against the Italian for a chance at glory. But it was not to be, as Zhang suffered his first defeat of that Olympiad, losing to Cammarelle, but proudly brought home the Silver Medal.
Zhang was a two-time gold medalist in his homeland as the big winner in the China National Games in both 2009 and 2013), those games are equal to the Olympics in China as an event of high prestige.
Born on May 2, 1983 in Henan, the Chinese giant had previously distinguished himself by capturing a Bronze medal in the Super Heavyweight Division at the world amateur championships 2007, setting the stage for his Olympic conquests a year later.
Zhang returned to the Olympics in 2012 in London, where he looked to repeat his 2008 performance. After a solid start, defeating the Australian Johan Linde, Zhang faced a stern test in hard-hitting Brit Anthony Joshua. Zhang lost a heart-breaker to Joshua, who would go on to sweep the tournament and win the Gold Medal.
Zhang began his career in 2003, participating in the World Championships. The inexperienced fighter took a loss in the first round, when he was defeated by fellow southpaw Grzegorz Kiełsa of Poland. But this did not deter Zhang, who went on to compete in the World University Boxing Championship the following year. There, he made it to the Finals, when he would eventually be defeated by the Uzbek, Rustam Saidov. Still, it was Zhang’s first podium finish in a competition.
This trip to the final helped fuel Zhang in the 2005 World Championship, hosted by his home country. He started off strong, defeating Vugar Alekperov in his first round. However, was unable to hold off the eventual winner, Odlanier Solis, in the following bout.
A breakthrough came in 2007 at the World University Boxing Championship. Zhang defeated the trio of Nurpais Torobekov, Rustam Rygebayev and Daniel Beahan en route to the Semi Finals. He lost to the Ukrainian, Vyacheslav Glazkov, but finished the competition in third place, qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Zhang went into the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships with high hopes after winning a silver medal in the Olympics the previous year. After three wins in the competition, he was finally stopped in the Semi Finals by Ukrainian, Roman Kapitanenko in a hotly-contested affair. Zhang would place third in the competition, standing proudly at the podium for a third consecutive year.
With a truckload of amateur background, Zhang Zhilei is ready to turn professional under Duva, and turn some heads in the process.
A standout amateur in China, Fanlong Meng will now showcase his talents turning professional under Dino Duva’s Dynasty Boxing banner. Those talents are considerable: for seven consecutive years – from 2008 to 2013 – the light heavyweight was the Chinese National Champion.
Meng started boxing as a teenager, first entering the ring at age 14. “I loved the sport when I was a kid, and I picked up boxing very randomly. I’ve loved boxing all my life.” Roy Jones Jr. was his personal favorite.
Meng obviously has learned his craft quite well as a seven-time national champion in China, and Gold medalist at the Chinese National Games.
Meng says “my greatest strength is that I’m flexible and good at coming back twice with my shots. I need to improve my inside fighting and fighting toe to toe with my opponent.” somebody.
Meng was born in Hala Daokou County in Chi Feng City, Inner Mongolia, where he will live when his is not training and competing in the United States.
Meng reflects that “professional American training is more vigorous than Chinese training,” but looks forward to the adjustment and challenge. “I will put in all my passion and enthusiasm,” he adds. “High intensity training is not a problem for a young man like me. I have my goal and I believe that I can make it happen.”
His list of credits in the amateur ranks also include: reaching the final of the Asian Championship in 2011 where his took home the silver medal, losing to Kim Hyeong-kyu of Korea in a tight contest; in 2012, he represented China in the Summer Olympic Games, defeating Ahmed Barki of Morocco in his opening bout before falling to Brazilian Yamaguchi Falcão in the round of 16; in the 2010 Asian Games, Fanlong made it to the semifinals and ultimate brought home the bronze medal; in the 2011 World Amatuer Boxing Championships, Meng won three bouts in dominant fashion to reach the quarter finals.
Wang Zhimin reached the pinnacle in 2011 when he won the gold in the World Series of Boxing in his native China, defeating Yerzhan Mussafirov of Kazakhstan in the tightly contested lightweight final. Zhimin had a great run in this competition. Out of seven bouts, including the final, Zhimin lost only once, in his second fight, against Yerzhan Mussafirov.
However, this is not the only taste of glory that the native of Zhe Jiang has had in his career. The previous year, Wang was able to reach the final of the Chinese National Boxing Championship. He obtained silver after losing in the final. He reached the same position in 2012, obtaining a silver medal in the Erdos International Boxing Competition.
Born in the city of Ning Bo in the Zhe Jiang province, Zhimin has shown great promise. It all started at his father’s side, together watching professional fights on television. This started, and grew, his love for boxing that has led him to make a career out of it. It also led to many accomplishments since he started training in 2000. Wang obtained a third place finish in the Chinese Youth Boxing Championship in 2003. He followed that up with a third place finish in the Chinese Elite Boxing Championships in 2007. The following year, Zhimin obtained another bronze in the Chinese National Boxing Championships.
All of his performances led him to obtaining his fourth bronze medal in 2009 in the Chinese National Games. This final bronze medal is where Wang felt his best when it came to competing in local tournaments. His confidence level was as at an all time high and he entered the competition in the best shape since he started competing. He may have lost in the semifinals, but this has led to better performances in international competitions and the start of his professional career.
After 14 years of his training and fighting as an amateur boxer, Wang Zhimin is ready to test the waters on the professional level. He knows that he will need to work hard and change up his fighting styles to progress in boxing, but that does not scare him. Wang will work on his endurance and conditioning, but knows that his sharp shooting punches can help him succeed. This lightweight cannot wait to get in shape, prepare himself and make a splash in professional boxing.