Chinese Olympic boxer Zou Shiming can pretty much be considered a celebrity in Beijing right about now. After his 11-2 win against his Venezuelan opponent, Eduard Bermudez Salas Wednesday, Shiming is making boxing one of the hottest sports of the country.
He recently appeared in a TV spot for Nike which can be seen above. Clearly Nike knew what they were doing when they cast Zou Shiming for this action-packed advert.
Boxing is actually a relatively new sport to China, having been banned until 1986, but it’s quickly becoming a national favourite.
“The government banned it for years, because it was too brutal and capitalist,” the New York Times explains. In 1986 China finally realized “boxing, with 11 weight classes, is one of those sports, like rowing or canoeing, that offer multiple opportunities for trips to the victor’s stand.”
With flyweight champs like 27-year-old Zou Shiming, it’s no wonder China is feeling empowered. Shiming is only 5-foot-5 and 106 pounds but clearly, that doesn’t mean anything.
“It was just normal and relatively easy. I did everything my coach told me,” he said.
“I’ve built up some experience. This is my dream, to be on the stage in Beijing and perform well.”
Time Magazine had previously listed him at #20 for the top 100 Olympic athletes to watch.