- The immediate WBO Interim World Heavyweight title rematch between Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce will go down this Saturday.
- Zhang defeated Joyce in their first fight via sixth-round TKO.
- Zhang and Joyce have identical betting odds of -110 in the upcoming rematch.
The OVO Wembley Arena in England will host the WBO Interim World Heavyweight title rematch of defending champion Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1) and challenger Joe Joyce (15-1). Zhang defeated Joyce in their first meeting in April 2023 with a sixth-round TKO finish after the ringside doctor ruled out the British fighter due to damage to his right eye.
𝐑𝐔𝐍 𝐈𝐓 𝐁𝐀𝐂𝐊 😤
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) August 3, 2023
Both Zhang and Joyce have identical boxing odds of -110 in the upcoming rematch, as this matchup seems to be a toss-up, especially after the gigantic upset of the Chinese champion when he was the overwhelming betting underdog from their previous fight. The winner of this heavyweight showdown is expected to challenge either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk for their titles.
Zhilei Zhang Recent Fight Results
Zhilei Zhang was a former silver medalist during the 2008 Beijing Olympics before transitioning to the professional ranks. He debuted in August 2014 and beat Curtis Lee Tate in the opening round via TKO. Since his successful pro debut, he went on a 24-fight unbeaten streak with 23 wins and one draw to capture the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title.
During these successive wins by Zhang, he scored victories over the likes of Don Haynesworth, Andriy Rudenko, Devin Vargas, Craig Lewis, and Scott Alexander. The now Bloomfield, New Jersey resident received his first defeat at the hands of Filip Hrgovic in August 2022 with a unanimous decision loss before bouncing back against Joyce to capture his first major boxing title.
Zhilei Zhang made waves last night with the upset win over Joe Joyce. pic.twitter.com/NmTDgEgdpm
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) April 16, 2023
Joe Joyce Recent Fight Results
Joe Joyce was an accomplished amateur boxer who competed and won in various national and European tournaments before turning professional. Before transitioning to the paid ranks, he won the Olympic silver medal in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. In October 2017, he debuted against Ian Lewison and got the eighth-round TKO finish. Since that successful first professional fight, Joyce went on a tear and collected 14 straight victories.
The 14 consecutive wins by the “Juggernaut” saw him win multiple minor titles like the Commonwealth Boxing Council Heavyweight title, WBA Gold World Heavyweight title, WBO International Heavyweight title, WBC Silver Heavyweight title, EBU European Heavyweight title, and the BBBofC British Heavyweight title.
In September 2022, Joyce finally earned his first major world title opportunity when he was pitted against Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO Interim World Heavyweight title. He capitalized on this chance and knocked out Parker in the 11th round. His first title defense against Zhang in April 2023 was unsuccessful, where he sustained a sixth-round TKO defeat.
‼️ Joe Joyce KNOCKS OUT Joseph Parker in round 11. Utterly relentless performance from Joyce – what a chin and what an engine, all too much for Parker in the end. Joyce now has the WBO 'interim' belt and is very well placed for a world title shot in 2023.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) September 24, 2022
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: Tale of the Tape
|Zhilei Zhang||Joe Joyce|
|Reach||78 inches||80 inches|
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: Fight Analysis
Since this is a rematch between the two heavyweight stars, I’ll throw the advantages in the tale of the tape out the window and instead discuss what happened in the first meeting six months ago. Zhang employed an effective strategy to exploit the lapses and openings on Joyce’s defense by going left throughout the entirety of the match.
The former Olympian silver medalist used a barrage of left straight punches, left cross punches, and left hooks to target the right eye of the British boxing star. Zhang constantly found the target, which forced damage in Joyce’s eye and eventually became the reason why the fight was stopped in his favor.
Also, Joyce’s flat-footed approach and slow footwork during the match helped the cause of Zhang’s attack because he couldn’t get out of the exchanges fast enough, which is why “Big Bang” found success with his left-hand punches. Lastly, Zhang surprised Joyce with his speed as he never expected him to be that fast, especially at the age of 40.
On the other hand, the silver lining that Joyce had during the fight was the steady rise of the volume of his punches as the match progressed in the latter stages. Zhang was visibly exhausted and gassed out because of the power punches he threw in the first four rounds. If the fight wasn’t called off in the sixth round, Joyce could have taken advantage of Zhang’s low stamina by either bombarding him with punches or winning via the judges’ scorecards.
It will be interesting to see what tweaks and changes both boxers will make in this rematch. The defending champion should double down on going all out in the first four rounds of the fight to possibly score an early TKO/KO finish and avoid exhaustion in the late rounds, while Joyce might want to consider using some distance to prolong the match through its entire length and exploit the lack of Zhang’s stamina.
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: Date and Start Time
September 23, 2023, 2:30 p.m. PT
September 23, 2023, 4:30 p.m. CT
September 23, 2023, 5:30 p.m. ET
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: Fight Prediction
Official Prediction: TKO/KO victory for Joe Joyce.
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