Boxing - Pizza and hamburgers fuel first China gold

BEIJING Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:06pm IST

Zou Shiming of China celebrates after defeating Purevdorj Serdamba of Mongolia in their light flyweight (48kg) final boxing match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 24, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Zou Shiming of China celebrates after defeating Purevdorj Serdamba of Mongolia in their light flyweight (48kg) final boxing match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's first Olympic boxing champion slimmed down for his lightning victory which secured China's 50th gold medal on a surprising diet of hamburgers and pizza.

Zou Shiming, light-flyweight world champion, broke down in tears on the podium on Sunday after taking a medal he had been aiming for since winning bronze in Athens.

"We have been waiting four years for this," he told reporters after the bout, which lasted just a couple of minutes because a shoulder injury forced his Mongolian opponent to throw in the towel.

"It is regrettable that it was over so fast, because I wanted to give China a really spirited bout, but the most important thing is just that I got the gold medal," he said.

His fans did not mind.

"You won gold faster than Liu Xiang," one joked, referring to the Chinese 110 metres hurdler who retired injured from this Olympics but normally finishes races in little over 10 seconds.

The charismatic champion, who had come out shadow boxing in a dragon robe and wore gold boots, said he took a month to slim down to his target weight on an easy diet.

"Recently I have been eating pizza and hamburgers...I enjoy Western food. Pizza tastes pretty good," the tiny fighter said with a smile.

"Also Chinese food is greasy so Western food is helpful when I am trying to control my weight."

(For more stories visit our multimedia website "2008 Summer Olympics" here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)