SHANGHAI (AFP) - Japan's unheralded Sho Kimura stunned Chinese star Zou Shiming with an 11th-round knockout that saw the part-time restaurant worker snatch the WBO world flyweight title in Shanghai on Friday (July 28).
Zou, making his first defence of the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) crown he won last year, appeared well on his way to victory, using his experience to repeatedly make Kimura miss while peppering the challenger with counter-punches.
Things looked grim for Kimura by the sixth round when Zou's slashing left hook tore a gash next to the Japanese fighter's right eye, forcing a temporary stoppage as the ring doctor examined the bloody cut.
Zou continued over the next few rounds to batter Kimura, who has said he works part-time delivering beer for a restaurant and was quoted this week saying he was fighting in honour of his late mother.
But Kimura (now 15-1-2) kept piling forward and he sent Zou crumpling to the canvas in the 11th round after unleashing a barrage of punches.
The shock defeat was a bitter letdown for Zou, who was promoting the fight himself and chose his homeland for his first title defence as part of his aim to raise boxing's profile in China.
Zou, 36, a two-time Olympic gold medallist who only turned pro in 2013 after a long and brilliant amateur career, drops to 9-2 as a pro.