HONG KONG (AFP) - Double Olympic champion flyweight Zou Shiming has vowed to put China on the global boxing map by winning his first professional world title in Macau next month.
The 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist was a three-time world champion in a glorious amateur career but believes that if he beats undefeated Thai Amnat Ruenroeng next month, he would finally bring Chinese boxing to the world's attention.
"I swore to fulfil my dreams to become a professional fighter, to achieve world titles and to bring China into the worldwide boxing family," Zou said.
He denied that fanatical support in his homeland - where up to 300 million are expected to watch the clash for the International Boxing Federation belt - was heaping pressure on him.
"The pressure doesn't come from my home country but comes from myself and that made me enter the pro ring in my 30s," said the 33-year-old.
Veteran promoter Bob Arum has dubbed Zou "the poster boy" for the rise of Chinese professional boxing.
Zou had a cameo appearance in the latest Transformers movie and appeared in advertisements for Beats headphones with NBA icon LeBron James and tennis legend Serena Williams.
His popularity back home will hit the stratosphere should he win at the Venetian Macau casino on March 7.
Zou (6-0, 1 KO) expects a tough battle against Amnat (14-0, 5 KOs) who is making his third defence of the IBF flyweight title.
The pair fought three times in their amateur careers with Zou winning the last two encounters.