By Nick Butler

Zhang Zhilei is the second Chinese boxing star to turn professional since London 2012 ©AFP/Getty ImagesMarch 11 - China's Beijing 2008 super-heavyweight boxing silver medal winner Zhang Zhilei has become the latest to turn his back on the amateur ranks for a lucrative professional contract.

In addition to his Beijing silver in a home ring Zhang, a 6ft 6in, 245-pound southpaw, also claimed bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and took the 2009 Asian Championship title. 

He lost in the quarter-finals of the London 2012 Olympics to Britain's eventual champion Anthony Joshua, another fighter who has since turned professional. 

The 30-year-old from Henan Province has signed with Dynasty Boxing, a promotional outfit which specialises in Chinese boxers, and is expected to make his professional debut in either May or June. 

Speaking after the announcement, Zhang admitted he has "a long way to go" and is a freshman in professional boxing with a lot to learn, before adding he will train hard and work with his team to make his aspirations come true.

Zhang Zhilei in winning action midway through the London 2012 boxing competition ©Getty ImagesZhang Zhilei in winning action midway through the London 2012 boxing competition
©Getty Images

The long-time promoter Dino Duva, who heads Dynasty Boxing, has made multiple trips to China and cultivated a relationship with the Chinese Boxing Federation in order to recruit the nation's talent.

He hopes to announce more Chinese signings in coming weeks. 

This follows the news last year that Zhang's double Olympic gold medal winning compatriot Zou Shiming has also departed for the professional ranks.

He signed a contract with rival promotional company Top Rank and has already won his first four bouts.