Zhilei Zhang issues a stiff warning to Joe Joyce
After the Chinese boxer’s destruction of Joe Joyce last month in London, his manager warns that a rematch will be disastrous.
Not many in the boxing world gave Zhilei Zhang two thoughts coming into last month’s London bout with Joe Joyce. The general consensus was that Joyce was the heir-apparent to the British heavyweight mantle, and the fight was seen as a tune-up on the way to Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.The WBO listed him as the mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk.
But the Chinese heavyweight had different ideas and systematically destroyed Joyce in front of the latter’s home fans in London’s Copper Box Arena. The win saw Zhang replace Joyce as the WBO interim heavyweight champion and become the new WBO mandatory challenger for Usyk.
Now that Joyce has activated the rematch clause in his contract, Zhang’s camp have issued a stern warning that Joyce may see his career end in this bout.
Zhang has a preference for the rematch to take place in China and his manager Terry Lane spoke to Boxing News about it.
“We saw [the rematch] coming. If he were to rematch us again, he would sustain such a severe beating. Probably not in the UK, probably China or the US. It could be career ending. It’s just a bad style matchup.”
Lane made clear that it was nothing personal, saying, “We really respect Joe and his team. There is a path for him to bigger fights but it’s not through us.”
Zhang has found difficulty in landing the big-money fights in the West and is reportedly the top choice for Tyson Fury to challenge. Lane hasn’t confirmed or denied that rumor, but adds, “We’ve had a long hard road. We earned our shot to bigger fights.”
Zhang had a stellar amateur career before going pro, and has a record of 20-1-1 with his only loss to Filip Hrgovic on points. His status on the periphery of the world heavyweight world has been largely due to being a southpaw, making him an awkward opponent. Without the titles and pedigree of Usyk, large purse fights were difficult to come by.