- Joe Joyce is the heavy favorite at -900.
- Zhilei Zhang is the overwhelming underdog at +550.
- The WBO Interim World Heavyweight title is on the line.
Joe Joyce’s (15-0) WBO Interim World Heavyweight title will be on the line this Saturday, April 15, inside Copper Box Arena in London, England, as he faces Zhilei Zhang (24-1-1). It will be Joyce’s 16th professional fight and first title defense of his WBO belt since winning it in his previous fight in September 2022, where he defeated Joseph Parker.
On the other hand, it will be Zhang’s first major title fight after competing in three previous minor boxing title matches, specifically for the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. Because of his undefeated record of 15 wins with 14 TKO/KOs, Joyce is the heavy favorite in boxing odds at -900 against Zhang, who is the overwhelming underdog at +550.
Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang first face-off of fight week ahead of Saturday night… pic.twitter.com/gNl5apGwUo
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) April 11, 2023
Both boxers are former Olympians, with Zhang being a silver medal finisher during the 2008 Beijing Games and Joyce winning the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Games. Another significant factor for the betting role of the two is the minor boxing titles won, as Joyce captured several minor and regional titles compared to Zhang’s lone minor title.
Joe Joyce Recent Fight Results
After his 2016 Olympic stint, Joe Joyce transitioned to the professional ranks in October 2017, where he fought Ian Lewison in his debut and TKO’ed him in the eighth round to start his boxing career on a winning note. He immediately added Rudolf Jozic and Donnie Palmer to his victim list before fighting for the Commonwealth Boxing Council Heavyweight title in May 2018.
Joyce made quick work of Lenroy Thomas to collect his maiden boxing title. Following that title triumph, the “Juggernaut” knocked out Ivica Bacurin, Iago Kiladze, and Joe Hanks to challenge Bermane Stiverne for the vacant WBA Gold World Heavyweight belt in February 2019. He showed his knockout power again with the sixth-round TKO of Stiverne and collected his second title.
Following another title triumph, the Putney, London resident TKO’ed Aleksandr Ustinov in May 2019, defended his WBA Gold World Heavyweight belt against Bryant Jennings in July 2019 via unanimous decision, and stopped Michael Wallisch via third-round TKO in July 2020. One of the biggest bouts of his career came in November 2020 when he faced Daniel Dubois.
In that fight, five boxing titles were on the line for Joyce and Dubois, both undefeated at that time. But Joyce maximized the opportunity by knocking out Dubois in the 10th round to claim the BBBofC British Heavyweight title, Commonwealth Boxing Council Heavyweight title, EBU European Heavyweight title, WBC Silver Heavyweight title, and WBO International Heavyweight title.
After collecting these five championships, Joyce fended off the challenges from Carlos Takam (sixth-round TKO in July 2021) and Christian Hammer (fourth-round TKO in July 2022) to retain his Commonwealth Boxing Council Heavyweight title, WBC Silver Heavyweight title, and the WBO International Heavyweight title.
The 37-year-old’s last fight saw him win the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title as he knocked out Joseph Parker in the 11th round of their championship showdown inside Manchester Arena in September 2022. Joyce hopes to land another win in hopes of challenging reigning WBO, IBF, and WBA Heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Zhilei Zhang Recent Fight Results
Like Joyce, Zhieli Zhang jumped to the paid ranks right after his Olympic stint and officially made his pro debut against Curtis Lee Tate in August 2014. Zhang quickly defeated Lee with a first-round TKO. Since then, he accumulated 12 straight victories, including eight stoppage wins.
“Big Bang’s” row of wins during this winning streak was over Perry Filkins, Eric George, Glenn Thomas, Dennis Benson, Juan Goode, David Koswara, Tyree Ortiz, John Orr, Terrell Jamal Woods, Gogita Gorgiladze, and Galen Brown. Due to these wins, Zhang earned himself a crack for the vacant WBO Oriental Heavyweight title against Peter Graham.
Zhang and Graham fought in January 2017, when the Chinese boxing star knocked out Graham in the opening round to win his first-ever boxing title officially. The now Bloomfield, New Jersey, resident didn’t immediately defend his belt, instead, he racked up five more knockout wins against Mark Brown, Curtis Harper, Nick Guivas, Byron Polley, and Eugen Buchmueller.
His first title defense came in September 2018, where he defeated Don Haynesworth via third-round TKO before unanimously beating Andrii Rudenko and scoring back-to-back title defenses. Zhang picked up another KO victory over Devin Vargas in November 2020. The 39-year-old received the first dent in his perfect record after a majority draw result with Jerry Forrest in February 2021.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics immediately bounced back with a TKO win over Craig Lewis in November 2021 and a knockout victory against Scott Alexander in May 2022. In his latest fight, however, Zhang received his first career loss at the hands of Filip Hrgovic, who outpointed him via unanimous decision.
Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang: Tale of the Tape
Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang: Fight Analysis
Looking at the tale of the tape, there is nothing much of a difference between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang as both boxing stars stand at 6-foot-6, with Joyce having two inches reach advantage at 80 inches against Zhang’s 78. The only visible contrast is their record, with the British’s unblemished record of 15 wins versus the Chinese’s 24 wins with one loss and one draw.
Another whopping difference is the finishing rate between the two because Joyce parades his 93% TKO/KO percentage against Zhang’s 73%. Both have a similar approach in their attack – a forward pressure using jabs to make their opponents back up to the ropes. However, Joyce fights in an orthodox stance, while Zhang fights in his usual southpaw stance.
One of Zhang’s favorite punches is his swooping right hook which often catches his opponents off-guard because he uses this at a certain angle that they don’t see, plus he has quite a speed when throwing it. Aside from that right hook, “Big Bang” also has a powerful left straight punch. This punch is his go-to attack when he tries to finish his opponents.
On the other hand, Joyce is the volume puncher who swarms his opponents with an array of punches. He is like a feller who slowly and surely cuts down a tree methodically. His jabs and power punches come hand-in-hand to chop his opposition down. The volume of the punches even goes up whenever he knows that his foe is hurt or when he senses a finish.
There’s no doubt about the punching power and finishing capability of these heavyweights, after all, they are world-class fighters and former Olympic medalists. However, the x-factor for this upcoming WBO Interim title fight will be the work rate of Joyce, which would eventually be too much to handle for Zhang.
Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang: Date and Start Time
April 15, 2023, 12 p.m. PT
April 15, 2023, 2 p.m. CT
April 15, 2023, 3 p.m. ET
Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang: Fight Prediction
Official Prediction: TKO/KO victory for Joe Joyce.
See the entire Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang odds and wagers here.
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