CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (2/8/2019 Fri.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (2/8/2019 Fri.)

People's Daily app

01:52, February 08, 2019

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From the People's Daily app.

And this is Story in the Story.

The "sweet science" is poised to punch its way into China's sporting mainstream.

The recent Shanghai International Boxing Summit explored ways for professionals from home and abroad to promote boxing among China's younger generations.

The summit focused on building an international platform for homegrown fighters and promoting youth involvement in the sport.

China Boxing Federation (CBF) President Zhang Chunliang said the country is still playing catch-up with established pugilistic powers like the US, Cuba and Germany, where children as young as five years old enter the ring. 

Today's Story in the Story looks at how the sport of boxing, otherwise known as the “sweet science” is growing in China.

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Xu Can reacts during an interview after winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight tittle in Houston, US, January 26, 2019. (Photo: chinadaily.com.cn)

It is important to educate more people about boxing, to develop new courses and systems and plan a more commercial format," said China's two-time Olympic gold medalist and former World Boxing Organization flyweight champion Zou Shiming.

"Boxing has changed my life, and I want to bring China's youth hope, change their dreams and lives by spreading boxing culture throughout the nation," said Zou, who held the WBO title from November 2016 to July 2017.

Boxing has 17 weight classifications. Featherweight division boxers weigh 118 to 126 pounds.

Chinese boxer Xu Can, 24, recently won the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title in a stunning upset over Puerto Rican former champion Jesus Rojas.

The Suzhou native went on the offensive landing solid ­combinations that forced ­Rojas into a defensive shell throughout the fight. 

Xu landed 30.5 percent of his punches while Rojas landed 29.2 percent.

The 12-round unanimous decision victory makes Xu the highest ranked Chinese boxer in his division.

And he is now 16-2 after winning 13 straight fights.

The fight was held at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, home of the Houston Rockets, where Yao Ming played for over a decade.

Going into the fight Rojas had 26 wins including 19 knockouts.

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Xu Can and his team are seen in Houston, US, January 26, 2019. (Photo: chinadaily.com.cn)

Before the bout, Xu said, "I have been preparing for this fight for three months. I am in great shape, and I am confident that I will bring the gold belt to China.”

Xu trained with Filipino boxer Genesis Servania at Beijing's M23 boxing club. In early January, he trained with famed coach Pedro Diaz in Miami.

"M23 means that our mission is to train more than five Chinese world boxing champions by the year 2023. We will work more with the international community and bring more Chinese boxers to the US because the US is the largest boxing market," said former Chinese boxer Liu Gang.

"It will take time for Chinese boxing to develop. We need to learn from foreign countries but not copy them, because China needs to have its own features and characteristics," Zhang said.

Zhang noted the establishment of Shanghai's Number 1 Sports Center underlines the commitment from Zou and other boxing supporters.

"People need to get rid of the traditional bias about boxing, which is that it's cruel and bloody, and instead realize that it is an inspirational sport that rewards courage and perseverance,” Zou said.

After Xu's victory in Houston he said, "The power is from China. I am Chinese. I knew I could defeat this fighter, I knew I could defend his punches, even though he's very strong. I just punched and punched and punched."

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe, and Da Hang. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Global Times and China Daily.)

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