Chinese Olympic star Zhang Zhilei turning pro
1. How did you become interested in boxing, and at what age to you start?
“Boxing is a sport of speed, power, flexibility, stamina, courage, as well as perseverance. It is also a sport about being a man. I love boxing as much as my career goes on. I started to train as a fighter since 15.”
2. Did you have any great American heavyweights that you watched, idolized or that were your favorites?
“I started to look at some of the greatest fighters in the world after I got involved with boxing. Boxing events are only broadcasted on the weekends of CCTV5. But I never missed one show. I watched Ali, Foreman, Tyson, Holyfield, Louis, Tua and the Klitschko Brothers. They are great fighters and I do like the way they fight. I hope that I can win a golden belt someday too. “
3. Talk about the experience of winning the silver medal?
“Actually, I’m thankful that I can make the Olympics, because super heavyweight division has been dominated by fighters from Europe and America for a long time. After I qualified the Olympics in Chicago World Championships, I went back to China and started to prepare for the big game. I executed coach’s plan, studied every possible opponent, and trained accordingly. I didn’t think that much during Olympics. I did it step by step without paying attention to winning or losing. I just wanted to do it the way I trained. Everything went great until the finals. I was thirst for that gold medal so much that I started to get disturbed. And I lost the fight.”
4. What do you considered your greatest strength as a boxer, and what do you have to improve on most?
“Participating in a lot of national and international fights made me realized that I’m tall and have long reach. I have good foot work and punch hard. I have to improve my technique and be of better conditioning.”
5. What city are you from in China?
“I was born in a small village in Zhang Ying, Shen Qiu County of Henan, China.”
6. You had said American training is more vigorous in one day than Chinese training is in a week. How will you make the adjustment?
“I was hard to get used to at first. Just like when I first started boxing. 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 hard than anybody else if you want to be the one.”
Zhang quotes/page 2
7. When you lost in the quarter finals of the 2012 Olympics, how disappointing was it, and what happened.
“I was not disappointed. I tried my best to do it and I did my best, left me no regrets. It is the process not the result that’s the best part.”
8. What do you think the biggest difference is between professional and amateur boxing, and how will you make that adjustment.
“Amateur boxing has fewer rounds, and the points determine the winner. You will fight a couple of different fights in competition period to win the whole tournament. Professional boxing has more rounds. It’s very important to be in top shape. “
9. At 6-feet-7-inches, you are very tall, how will you use that to your advantage?
“The key is controlling distance, controlling opponent, making them hard to get close. But it takes efforts and practice from both coach and fighter.”
10. When you first signed with Duva to train you, a writer said that you can add excitement to a stale heavyweight division dominated by the Klitschkos. What is your reaction to that possibility?
“I thought about that too. But I have a long way to go. I’m a freshman in professional boxing, and there will be a lot of things I have to learn. I will train hard and hope that me and our team work together to make this come true.”
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