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Shiming vs. Kokiegym and Vazquez vs. Shafikov this Saturday, Feb, 22nd in Macau, China

Latest Miguel VazquezBy Chris Williams: This Saturday night flyweight prospect Zou Shiming (3-0) will be in the ring against Yokthong Kokiegym (15-3, 11 KO’s) in a scheduled 8 round bout at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, in Maco, China. Shiming, 32, is being groomed for a title shot in the flyweight division by his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Thus far, Shiming hasn’t shown the kind of talent that would suggest that he’ll be anything more than a well-known contender. Shiming has shown little power to speak of, and he’s not been impressive in the three fights that he’s had since turning pro in April of last year after capturing two Olympic gold medals for China.

Up until now, Shiming has been matched up against novices with 4 to 5 fights under their belt, but on Saturday night he’ll be facing an opponent with 18 prior fights as a pro and with a little more power than the guys that he’s been in with.

Kokiegym, only 19, has been fighting as a pro since 2010, but he’s been fighting almost entirely in Thailand and has yet to fight any one of quality. You can make an argument that after Saturday night he still won’t have faced anyone of quality.

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In a much more interested fighting on the same card, IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 KO’s) will be making a rare title defense against #3 IBF Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18 KO’s). This is a fight that is a difficult one to predict because Vazquez has pretty stopped fighting since his win over Mercito Gesta in 2012.

It’s not that Vazquez hasn’t had chances to fight, as he’s had opportunities for unification bouts, but he’s just not been able to find his way to the ring. It’s good that he’s finally defending his title against the 28-year-old Shafikov, but it’s bad that he’s wasted almost a year and a half of his career by failing to fight.

Vazquez won’t have much to show for his title as the IBF lightweight champion if he gets beaten on Saturday night, because I’m sure he expected to be involved in a number of important fights. If Vazquez is able to fight at the same level he did in his win over Gesta, then he should take care of Shafikov without too many problems.

Shafikov, who was born in Russia, has a number of good wins over the likes of Alisher Rahimov, Santos Benavides, Albert Mensah, Brunet Zamora, Lee McAllister and Giuseppe Lauri.


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