April 6, 2013 / 9:34 PM / 6 years ago

China's Olympic champion Zou wins professional debut

China's Zou Shiming, two-time Olympic gold medal winner and three-time World Amateur Champion, celebrates his win with a Chinese national flag after beating Mexico's Eleazar Valenzuela during his professional debut at Cotai Arena inside Venetian Macao in Macau early April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

(Reuters) - Double Olympic gold medallist Zou Shiming of China scored a unanimous points victory in a four-round professional boxing debut in Macau on Saturday as the gambling hub took a step towards becoming a boxing destination.

Zou, whose bronze in Athens was China’s first Olympic boxing medal, won gold at the Beijing Games and beat Thailand’s Kaeo Pongprayoon in London last year to become the first light-flyweight to win three Olympic medals.

A popular figure in his country, the 31-year-old beat Mexican Eleazar Valenzuela with all three judges giving him a 40-36 victory amid huge cheers from his home fans at the Venetian Macau resort hotel.

Zou, also a three-time amateur world champion, has signed a professional contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotion, which also has eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight title holder Timothy Bradley in its ranks.

Officials in Macau, the world’s largest gambling destination, are aiming to transform the casino-dominated enclave into an international leisure and tourism destination.

The southern Chinese hub, where gambling revenues reached $38 billion in 2012 - six times that of Las Vegas - is heavily reliant on the casino industry.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Farah Master in Hong Kong; editing by Stephen Wood

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