The seventh annual Rural Rumble will have another foreign flavor.
Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei, who captured the Olympic Silver Medal in Beijing in 2008, will make his professional debut on Aug. 8 at the Churchill County Fairgrounds, according to a press release from Dynasty Boxing, who represents Zhilei.
Last year, Ytalo Perea of Ecuador made his Rural Rumble debut in a losing effort.
The Rural Rumble, meanwhile, is a promotion of DiBella Entertainment and will be televised live on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
Zhang is the first fighter to be promoted by Dynasty and will appear in a four-round heavyweight.
“I want to thank my great friend Lou DiBella and the entire staff at DBE for bringing this ESPN show to Fallon, and for working with us to provide a great international platform for Zhang Zhilei’s pro debut,” said Dino Duva of Dynasty Boxing. “In addition, we want to extend our appreciation to the city of Fallon and Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. for providing this unique venue at the fairgrounds.”
“We are happy to be working with our friend Dino Duva, and to be featuring this great Chinese fighter on our upcoming ESPN card August 8th,” DBE president Lou DiBella added.
For Duva, it has been a long journey of four years, hundreds of flights, and thousands of miles traveling between his New Jersey home base and China to cultivate the relationships with the Chinese Boxing Federation.
Duva, the son of Hall of Fame trainer/manager Lou Duva, has specialized in promoting heavyweight boxers and champions, including Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, George Foreman, Samuel Peter, Riddick Bowe and Kirk Johnson at various junctures in their careers.
For Terry and Tommy Lane, the Dynasty vice presidents and sons of legendary referee Mills Lane, the debut of Zhang Zhilei is the long-awaited opportunity to take the next step as promoters, after years of watching their beloved father officiate major championship fights throughout the country, followed by their initial successful venture, Nevada-based “Let’s Get It On” Promotions.
“Zhang Zhilei has the whole package — size, athleticism, good looks, and great personality,” Duva said. “And one other thing: he knows how to fight. He has more of a pro style than Olympic style. Mark my words, once boxing fans get a chance to see him, he will be the talk of the heavyweight division and all of boxing. I believe he is going to be the most important heavyweight to come along since the Klitschkos turned pro in 1996.”