China’s Zou Shiming on course for world title, says Freddie Roach

China’s Zou Shiming played a bit part in the new Transformers movie, but Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach thinks his protégé is very close to playing his biggest role yet – champion of the world.

The American trainer is convinced the two-time Olympic champion can go all the way to the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title after the mainlander survived 10 rounds to outpoint remarkably tough Colombian Luis de la Rosa (23-4-1,13 KOs) in Saturday’s Champions of Gold.

Zou Shiming at the Venetian Macau. The 33-year-old Chinese boxer is being fast-tracked to have a shot at a world title.Photo: Unus Alladin

By winning his fifth straight pro fight (5-0-0, 1 KO), Roach believes Zou has a genuine shot at superstardom having already landed his first professional belt, the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) international flyweight title – one tier below a world title – by unanimous decision.

Roach had said the 33-year-old Guizhou native was being fast-tracked towards a title fight because of his advancing age and if he performed well in this bout, the Zou team would eye a world title fight in November. Zou’s performance had his team nodding in approval.

“We did 10 hard rounds tonight. It wasn’t perfect but we are going closer and closer all the time. I think we will be there pretty soon [a world title fight]. His [Zou] right hand was great and his power was a bit better. He was throwing more combinations. That’s what I want to see,” said Roach.

China’s Zou Shiming’s physical conditioning has improved thanks in large part to his trainer, Freddie Roach (right). Photo: Unus Alladin

“The pace was good and he’s been sitting down on his punches a bit more.”

Zou is being lined up to possibly challenge IBF flyweight world champion Amnat Ruenroeng, of Thailand, on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s fight against American Chris Algieri on November 23 in Macau.

Saturday’s pulsating contest had the 8,000-strong crowd on its feet. De La Rosa suffered an accidental headbutt in the fifth round and was struggling to contain the bleeding.

This is one small victory and I am sure there are many challenges along the road. The game plan was to win round by round

“This is one small victory and I am sure there are many challenges along the road. The game plan was to win round by round. After going through 10 rounds, I am more confident of going to 12 rounds [title fight], so it’s a big step for me,” said Zou, who was wearing his trademark gold trunks and gold boots.

“I have been thinking of the world title ever since day one. I have faith in my team and my training staff. They have been very effective.

“I’m very confident I will be ready for a world title. I am very happy with my physical conditioning. There’s been a big difference from amateur boxing to professional boxing. You have to put more power into your punching,” he said.

Asked what Zou was trying to prove trading a flurry of punches and risking getting knocked out at the end of the fight, the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games champion, said: “I didn’t want to leave the ring with any energy. I planned for 10 rounds, so I was going to deliver for 10 rounds.”

via China’s Zou Shiming on course for world title, says Freddie Roach | South China Morning Post.

Jeremy Lin wants ‘bigger role’ in Lakers

2014/07/20 16:12:38

Taipei, July 20 (CNA) Taiwanese American NBA star Jeremy Lin, who was recently traded by the Houston Rockets to the Los Angeles Lakers, said Sunday that he expects to play a larger role on his new team.

Answering fans’ questions at a basketball camp in Taiwan, sponsored by China Airlines, Lin described his trade to the Lakers as “a great opportunity” because he can learn much from his new teammate, Kobe Bryant, four-time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player and a five-time NBA champion.

“I wish my role could become bigger and more important, and I also wish I could get more playing time next year,” said the 25-year-old point guard.

Lin, who is only under contract for one more season, averaged 13.0 points and 5.2 assists in 153 games over the past two seasons with the Rockets. He was moved to the Rockets’ bench last season, after starting for the entire 2012-13 season.

The Rockets announced July 13 that it had agreed to trade Lin and a future first-round pick to the Lakers, in a bid to seek a salary cap relief.

Lin, in the midst of a week-long visit to Taiwan, said at a press conference on July 18 that his main goal during summer training is to improve his floater and 3-point shot and to level up his defense skills.

On July 23, Lin is scheduled to participate in a program for GOOD TV, a local Christian TV channel, along with other publicity events.

via Jeremy Lin wants ‘bigger role’ in Lakers | Entertainment & Sports | FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS.

Ji Cheng battles away in the Tour de France

Ji Cheng, the first Chinese cyclist to ride the Tour de France, says he will just be hoping to survive as the Grand Boucle heads into the high mountains.

Ji was a visible presence throughout the first week of the Tour, often riding at the front of the peloton on stages earmarked for ace sprinter Marcel Kittel, his Giant-Shimano team leader.

The Chinese star, 26, lived up to his nickname of “the breakaway killer” as he put in long shifts on the front of the peloton to ensure escapees couldn’t make it all the way to the finish.

I’m just enjoying it. Every day a lot of people send me messages on Chinese Weibo, a couple of hundred [every day]

But now the Tour has hit the hilly Vosges, and with the Alps not far down the road, Ji says his aim will simply be to cling onto the back of the peloton.

At least he is still hanging in, unlike former two-time winner Alberto Contador who broke down in tears as he quit the Tour on Monday after crashing badly on a steep downhill part of the tough 10th stage and badly injuring his knee.

via Ji Cheng battles away in the Tour de France | South China Morning Post.

MLU Announces 2014 Scoring Title Winner Brendan Wong

Major League Ultimate has announced that Brendan Wong of the Vancouver Nighthawks has won the Scoring Title for the 2014 MLU season.

Wong led the league with 64 points by tallying 48 goals and 16 assists during the Nighthawks 10-game regular season. On his way to earning the Title, the 32-year-old rookie set league records in points and goals scored. He shattered last year’s goal record by 16, previously held by Portland’s Timmy Perston (32 goals) and eclipsed Chris Mazur of New York’s mark of 56 total points, as well.

Wong finished 17 points ahead of the second-place finisher Jeff Graham of Boston (47: 27 goals and 20 assists) and 20 points ahead of third-place finishers, Daniel Trytiak of Seattle (44: 17 and 27) and Alan Kolickof D.C. (44: 14 and 30). Boston’s Brandon Malecek finished in fifth with 17 goals and 26 assists (43 points).

“Setting the record really means nothing to me unless we’re winning games on the way to qualifying for the playoffs,” said Wong after he broke the goal-scoring record in the Nighthawks’ Week 9 game against Seattle. “We have more games to focus on so I’m concentrating on winning them rather than worrying about how many goals I’ve scored compared to my teammates or opponents.”

He did just that, helping Vancouver to victories in the following weeks to get Vancouver to the playoffs.

Wong had a quiet Western Conference championship game with two goals and an assist, but was a force all season, particularly during their four-game winning streak to qualify for the championship game for the first time in franchise history.

A University of British Columbia product, Wong has been a figure in Canadian ultimate for the last decade, including as a gold medalist on Team Canada’s mixed team at the 2008 WFDF World Championships.

On Saturday, Wong has the opportunity to bring the first ever MLU Championship to Canada if the Nighthawks can beat the D.C. Current at PPL Park.

via MLU Announces 2014 Scoring Title Winner – Major League Ultimate.

Peter Yu and Gagan Chatha, Rookie Starters – Vancouver Nighthawks

A healthy team features multiple generations of players. This year’s version of Major League Ultimate’s Vancouver Nighthawks looks very healthy, with a roster ranging all the way from 40-year-old Kirk Savage and 39-year-old Marc Seraglia down to players barely half their age.

Having stepped up and established themselves as starters, two young rookies have belied their lack of experience. Though just 21 years old and much less seasoned than the greybeards, Peter Yu and Gagan Chatha have managed to carve out important roles for themselves on the Nighthawks’ D-line and O-line, respectively. If the eligibility criteria for the MLU Rookie of the Year Award took into account playing experience outside MLU, they would be joint favourites to win it.

“Although I only started playing at the elite level last year,” said Peter Yu. “I’ve always known that handler defense is my forte. The only thing I think about when I’m playing is what I can do to best put my team in a position to succeed. I don’t put much thought into securing my role on the team or trying to earn playing time, as those factors are out of my control. The ultimate goal is winning; I do what my team needs me to do.”

Yu may be the MLU’s best defender on opposing handlers. His tenacious bids, wheels and smart positioning allow him to make dumps and swings between the handlers very difficult. The stats, in his case seven D’s for the season, do not reflect the havoc this Team Canada alumnus causes for opposing handlers; his moments of brilliance often lead to D’s by his teammates.

“I can’t even begin to list off the countless number of times he shut down the other team’s main handler, but the one play that sticks out in my mind is the layout D against the Rainmakers’ Adam Simon in Seattle,” said Chatha.

After Yu switched to covering him after a savvy poach during the Week 8 match-up in Seattle, Simon was able to turn Yu’s hips and appeared to get ahead of him on an up-field cut, but Yu’s speed prevailed when he cut across Simon’s line and outbid him to get a D on what should have been an easy handler up-line. Note the tight score and that the game was in overtime. A play like this is a huge confidence booster for a team, so it’s no surprise the Nighthawks quickly scored after the turnover and then held the Rainmakers scoreless the rest of the game on the way to a 29-24 win.

During the Nighthawks’ final game of the regular season against the San Francisco Dogfish, Yu made another huge play that showcases the offensive skills that make him a double threat….

via Peter Yu and Gagan Chatha, Rookie Starters – Vancouver Nighthawks.

Jeremy Lin: From face of Rockets to trade to Lakers in two years

For 3 1/2 months in the summer and early fall of 2012, Jeremy Lin was the face of the franchise — the leading edge in a wave of change that the Rockets hoped would build toward a new era of playoff success.

And the waves kept coming — James Harden in October 2012, Patrick Beverly in January 2013, and Dwight Howard in July 2013.

But those arrivals had, by this summer, reduced Lin from franchise face to placeholder status, with his uniform number dangled as bait for free agent Carmelo Anthony as the Rockets plotted their next roster move.

And now it is his departure, in a trade with the Lakers completed Friday, that will be the final footnote on his time in Houston as a part of the team’s failed bid to lure free agent Chris Bosh.

Jeremy Lin was welcomed back to Houston with a 3-year deal before the 2012-13 season. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

“The Harden wave just swamped him,” said television analyst and former Rockets player Matt Bullard. “When the Rockets signed Lin, they had no idea they would be able to get Harden. And so his time here in Houston has been as a building block, but one under a bright spotlight, even unfairly so.”

Lin, arguably, was never bigger in Houston than during the weeks before he actually hit the floor at Toyota Center. Acquired as a free agent after the Rockets traded Kyle Lowry and lost Goran Dragic to free agency, he was front and center in the Rockets’ preseason “A New Age” ad campaign and in the first wave of Comcast SportsNet Houston launch ads but was supplanted when the team traded for Harden shortly before the regular-season opener.

He averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists during the 2012-13 season, including a slot before the home crowd at the Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend at Toyota Center, and along with center Omer Asik was the only player to start in all 82 regular-season games.

After a slow start (with single-digit point production in 12 of his first 23 games), he closed with a run of 20 double-digit games in the Rockets’ final 24 games of the year, including a three-game run in March with 20 or more points.

However, he was held in check by Russell Westbrook of the Thunder in Game 1 of the playoffs and suffered a bruised chest muscle in a Game 2 collision with Thabo Sefolosha. He did not play in Games 4 and 5, both of which the Rockets won with new fan favorite Beverly and returning favorite Aaron Brooks in leading roles, and managed just three points in 13 minutes in the season-ending loss to Oklahoma City.

Lin got off to a quicker start in 2013-14, with back-to-back 30-point performances against Toronto and Philadelphia in November, but missed six games in December with injuries and then had back spasms that sidelined him for much of the month.

He recorded a triple double in February against Cleveland, but that was one of just three double-digit assists games on the season as he dropped to 33 starts on the year and his averaged dropped to 12.5 points and 4.1 assists. In the playoffs, he averaged 11.3 points off the bench in the six-game loss to Portland.

Then came the offseason reports of more player movement, capped by the Rockets’ use of his uniform No. 7 in a Toyota Center display welcoming Anthony to town. Lin responded, on Twitter, with a quotation from Luke 6:29: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

That exchange, Bullard said, in part demonstrated Lin’s singular depth of character, which, combined with his ethnic origins as the first Taiwanese-American player in the NBA and his white-hot “Linsanity” breakout season with the Knicks in 2011-12, has arguably pushed his popularity beyond his accomplishments.

“Jeremy has fought against getting cut at every level he’s played,” Bullard said. “When you battle for as long as he has, it makes you strong. He arrived here with a lot of expectations, and he has a lot of fans around the world that are Jeremy Lin fans before they are Rockets fans. That has hardened him in the fires of his career.”

Although Lin leaves Houston without a comparable period of “Linsanity” to match his time in New York, Bullard said the Lakers are getting a better player than the one that arrived in Houston two years ago.

“He is very realistic about what he is good at and what his weaknesses are,” Bullard said. “He has really worked on his jump shot and his left hand. He can go on to be a better player. He handles these things well.”

via Jeremy Lin: From face of Rockets to trade to Lakers in two years – Ultimate Rockets.

Melo opens door for Lin again – ESPN Los Angeles

It was an injury to Carmelo Anthony that led to Jeremy Lin‘s meteoric rise to basketball relevance in New York more than two years ago. Now it appears that indecision on Anthony’s part could lead to Lin trying to recapture the magic in Los Angeles. 

The Lakers still hadn’t heard any official word from Anthony on Friday, according to a league source, when they pulled the trigger on a trade with the Houston Rockets to acquire Lin and Houston’s 2015 first-round pick in exchange for cash considerations and the rights to an undisclosed player stashed overseas. 

[+] EnlargeJeremy Lin

Andrew Richardson/USA TODAY SportsIn addition to providing consistency at point guard, one of Jeremy Lin’s biggest assets is his ability to drive to the basket and convert.

While Lin hardly has the reputation now he had back in February 2012 when “Linsanity” reached its height of euphoria thanks to him dropping 38 points on the Lakers of all teams during a Friday night game at Madison Square Garden, it’s not as if he’s some bum either. 

There’s no denying that the last we saw of him on the court, Lin struggled. Lin shot just 21.7 percent on 3-pointers in Houston’s first-round playoff loss to Portland and was particularly ineffective early in the series, scoring five points on 1-for-5 shooting in Game 2 and four points on 1-for-6 shooting in Game 4 as the Rockets fell behind 3-1 before eventually losing in six games. 

But that rough series, combined with the Rockets’ preference for Patrick Beverly at the point, ended up clouding the player that Lin really is today. 

The fact is, he’s a better player than when he was setting the world on fire during that streak with the Knicks. Lin may have averaged fewer points (12.5 compared to 14.6) and assists (4.1 compared to 6.2) last season than he did when he was in New York, but he’s more efficient (35.8 percent from 3, up from 32.0 percent, while his attempts have gone from 2.1 to 3.2 per game), more reliable (82.3 percent from the foul line, up from 79.8) and also more in control (2.5 turnovers per game, down from 3.6). 

At 6 feet 3, 200 pounds, Lin is a bigger point guard than most think, which perhaps has something to do with his durability. Lin played in 71 games last season and all 82 games the season before that. Having a stable point guard would certainly be a welcome addition for the Lakers after Steve NashSteve Blake and Jordan Farmar all missed so many games because of injuries in the last two seasons. 

Lin also has one elite skill that puts him in the company of Friday’s biggest news maker, LeBron James. Lin shot 57.9 percent off drives last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, second in the league last season behind only James (63.8 percent) among players who averaged at least seven drives to the basket per game. 

While Lin’s $15 million salary for 2014-15 might not seem commensurate with what he brings to the court, his cap figure is only $8.3 million, which left L.A. with the necessary cap room to retain Nick Young ($21.5 million over four years) and Jordan Hill ($18 million over two years) on Friday. 

Is Lin, Young and Hill as good of a combination of the Lakers’ preferred Plan A route of Anthony and Pau Gasol next season? Of course not. 

But could it be better for 2015-16 and beyond? Maybe. Lin is only 25 and if he makes it work with the Lakers next season, could find a home for the next several years in L.A. 

Getting that first-round pick from Houston is no small feat, either. The Lakers traded their 2015 first rounder to Phoenix as part of the Nash deal. Getting another good, inexpensive young piece in the draft to grow alongside Julius Randle for years to come is just a smart move in terms of the business of basketball. 

And while L.A. overpaid for Hill, the second year is a team option, so they can cut ties if they choose next summer if it looks as if they’ll need that money to go after Kevin Love or another big fish out there. 

Though it will hurt to see Gasol go, he just turned 34 and has a history of knee and foot troubles, so maybe avoiding giving him a multi-year extension will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Yes, Anthony paved the way for Lin to step into the spotlight once again. 

The Lakers didn’t get the top-tier star they were hoping for, but ended up with Lin who has an extremely high international appeal, and Young, an L.A. native who was literally built for this town. 

It’s not ideal, but it’s not disastrous, considering all the future flexibility the Lakers were able to maintain. 

Coincidentally, the Rockets were interested in Anthony too and tried to recruit the high-scoring small forward by posting images of Anthony wearing a red Rockets No. 7 uniform (Lin’s number) when he came to town. 

Also coincidentally, the Lakers might have been motivated in part to cut ties with coach Mike D’Antoni in April — Lin and Anthony’s old coach with the Knicks — before they went after Anthony this summer because their time together what somewhat rocky. 

Well, only one of the three are in L.A. now. 

And for Lin’s sake, let’s just hope his transition from Broadway to Hollywood includes a little more luck and positive results than there were for D’Antoni when he made a similar leap.

via Melo opens door for Lin again – ESPN Los Angeles.