They call Taishan Dong “The Great Wall”. At seven feet tall, he is an absolute monster and surely a fearsome sight in the ring for any other heavyweight boxer. Just last Friday, American Lance Gauch found out the hard way what it is like to be on the receiving end of the menacing fist of the giant Chinaman. Dong moved his professional record to 5-0 with the win – a win that the American will probably not remember too much about.
To be fair to Gauch, it appeared a mismatch all along, giving up more than 30 centimetres, or 12 inches, in height difference. Gauch did his best to avoid carnage from the big guy’s fists for most of the first round, but what was perhaps inevitable came thirty seconds before the bell to end the opening round was due.
Reports said that the referee of the fight, Ray Corona, didn’t bother with a count, and called the fight off immediately. Interestingly, some reports suggested that Gauch, whose record stands at 5-9-2, was actually winning the round up to the point of the almighty punch.
There was some concern following the knockout as it appears that Gauch was in some serious trouble. It was not only a knockout in boxing terms, but a literal knockout which saw the American lay prone on the floor for about ten minutes before being taken to by a stretcher to hospital.
It was a scary but awesome display of the damage “The Great Wall of China” is capable of. At 130kg, or 286 pounds, Dong is a monster from the Gansu province. However, he has relocated to the United States to further his boxing career, and has become a part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions since giving them his signature last year. Although playing a strategic game with who Dong is pitted against, Golden Boy believes him to be a legitimate heavyweight contender.
“Mr De La Hoya wanted to open the Chinese market because he believes in me,” Dong told Fox Sports earlier this year. “He knows I can become a champ”.
Dong is often compared to his countryman, Yao Ming – often referred to as the Yao Ming of boxing. Both men are huge. With his professional record now at 5-0, Dong’s first two bouts were both knockout followed by another two which went the distance. During the latest short fight, his opponent Gauch did look incredibly underprepared to meet someone like Dong.
Perhaps predictably due to his height, Dong is said to have initially entertained ideas of becoming a basketballer, before attempting kickboxing, to eventually settle on boxing. Those in the know say he has considerable hand speed and athleticism for a man of his size, although nobody got the chance to witness much of that during the latest fight.
“Nowadays I am more patient and can overcome any challenges that arise during the fight. I will give the best of myself. I will try to understand my opponent’s strategy from the beginning and therefore defeat him,” he said in an interview with Fox Sports. “My maximum potential has not been revealed yet. That is why I train hard, in order to become a world champion”.