Shiming returns, stops Countino in eight; Murata scores KO

Phil Jay 30/01/2016

Chris Farina

Former world flyweight title challenger Zou Shiming made a successful return from suffering a first career defeat as a pro by stopping Natan Coutinho in eight rounds at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in his native China.

The 34 year-old double Olympic gold medallist lost out to Amnat Ruenroeng in March 2015 for the IBF championship when dropping a unanimous decision at Cotai Arena and made a step back into contention on Saturday.

In the process, Shiming picked up the vacant WBO International belt for the second time in his three-year career in the paid ranks and pushed his record to a healthier 7-1 by ending Coutinho’s undefeated run.

Also on the Shanghai bill, fellow 2012 Olympic champion Ryota Murata made it to 9-0 when the middleweight knocked out Gaston Vega in the second session of a scheduled ten-rounder.

Murata, 30, was once again impressive in nailing down his sixth early finish since ditching the vest and head-guard to potentially move towards a world title shot of his own at the back end of 2016.

Prior to the Vega triumph, Murata was already ranked highly with all the major associations and could be in line to face the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, Danny Jacobs and Gennady Golokvin in the coming months.