The stage is set for an epic showdown as China’s Zhilei Zhang prepares to face off against Britain’s Joe Joyce in a high-stakes rematch this Saturday at Wembley’s OVO Arena. Zhang, who stopped Joyce in the sixth round during their previous encounter in April, is determined to make a statement and end Joyce’s career once and for all.
In their first bout, Joyce suffered his first career loss at the hands of the formidable Zhang, losing not only the fight but also his WBO ‘interim’ title and mandatory challenger status. This loss put him on a detour from his path to fight unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Zhang, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, didn’t mince words. He pointed out that while Joyce had given him an opportunity in their initial fight, it was a mistake on his team’s part to choose him as an opponent. He went on to assert, “Your team going for the rematch is a bigger mistake. I’m here to end your career.”
Joyce, known as the ‘Juggernaut,’ was quick to respond with confidence, saying, “Let’s see it then. Let’s have it.”
The press conference, held at The Drum in Wembley, was a mix of serious determination and light-hearted banter. Promoter Frank Warren emphasized the significance of this rematch, with the winner earning a shot at the WBO champion next year, while the loser faces a long wait for another opportunity.
Joyce, with his eyes firmly fixed on the title, remarked, “I want that title back he took from me last time. It [the belt] looks real shiny over there,” adding a touch of humor to the proceedings.
Zhang, displaying his interim belt with pride, compared himself to a hungry tiger, saying, “I’m the tiger and I’m hungry. And you don’t take food out of the tiger’s mouth.”
Joyce’s witty response was, “I want to take it off his plate, not out of his mouth.”
Prior to his loss to Zhang, Joyce had lofty ambitions of facing heavyweight giants like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Usyk. Warren hinted that perhaps Joyce had been too focused on those future fights, underestimating the immediate challenge presented by Zhang.
Zhang, after his surprising victory over Joyce, had a brief holiday in Thailand before getting back to training. He had been in talks to fight WBC champion Tyson Fury but was obligated to face Joyce again due to a rematch clause.
Joyce acknowledged his mistakes in their first bout and emphasized the importance of making necessary adjustments in his camp. He highlighted that small changes can make a big difference, indicating his determination to correct past errors.
Zhang, on the other hand, intends to target Joyce’s right eye once again, which had swelled significantly in their last fight and raised concerns from ringside doctors.
As the fighters and their teams exchanged words at the press conference, the tension was palpable. While neither Zhang nor Joyce are known for trash talk, the stakes are high, and both camps are confident of victory.
This rematch is a pivotal moment in Joyce’s career. A win would not only rectify the sole blemish on his professional record but also put him back on the path to heavyweight glory, with potential matchups against Joshua, Fury, and Usyk looming large. However, a loss could mean a long and challenging road back to world-title contention.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether Joyce can overcome Zhang’s power and prove that the first encounter was merely a bad day at the office. Only time will tell if the ‘Juggernaut’ will get back on track or if ‘Big Bang’ Zhang will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. The answers will be revealed come fight night, and the world of boxing is watching with bated breath.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Heavyweight Rematch
What is the significance of the Zhang vs. Joyce rematch?
The Zhang vs. Joyce rematch holds immense significance in the world of heavyweight boxing. In their first encounter, Joe Joyce suffered his first career loss and lost his WBO ‘interim’ title. This rematch is an opportunity for Joyce to rectify that loss and regain his title. Additionally, the winner of this fight is guaranteed a shot at the WBO champion, elevating the stakes even further.
What happened in their previous fight?
In their previous fight in April, Zhilei Zhang defeated Joe Joyce by stopping him in the sixth round. This victory marked Joyce’s first career loss and resulted in him losing his WBO ‘interim’ belt and mandatory challenger status for the unified world champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
How did the fighters react during the press conference?
During the press conference, both fighters displayed a mix of determination and humor. Zhang made it clear that he intended to end Joyce’s career, while Joyce responded confidently, eager to prove himself. The press conference included moments of banter, with both fighters using humor to lighten the mood.
What are the implications for Joe Joyce if he loses this rematch?
A loss in this rematch could have significant implications for Joe Joyce’s career. It could potentially hinder his chances of securing future world title fights, including matchups against Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Oleksandr Usyk. The road back to world-title contention would likely be a long and challenging one for Joyce.
Why does Zhang plan to target Joyce’s right eye in the rematch?
During their previous fight, Joe Joyce’s right eye swelled significantly and was inspected by ringside doctors. Zhilei Zhang has stated that he plans to target this weakness in the rematch. Zhang believes that exposing this vulnerability is a key to his strategy for victory.
What are the expectations for this rematch in the world of boxing?
This rematch has generated significant interest in the boxing community. It is seen as a pivotal moment in Joe Joyce’s career, with the potential to either reaffirm his status as a serious heavyweight contender or derail his world title ambitions. The outcome of this fight will shape the future landscape of the heavyweight division and determine the next steps for both fighters.
How can I watch the Zhang vs. Joyce rematch?
Viewers can watch the Zhang vs. Joyce rematch live on the designated broadcasting channels or streaming platforms. Check with your local sports network or streaming service to find out how to access the fight and enjoy the action as it unfolds at Wembley’s OVO Arena.
More about Heavyweight Rematch
- Zhang vs. Joyce I: A recap of their first encounter
- Wembley’s OVO Arena: The venue for the rematch
- Joe Joyce’s boxing career and achievements
- Zhilei Zhang’s journey to the heavyweight division
- WBO ‘interim’ title in heavyweight boxing
- Oleksandr Usyk: Unified world champion
- Heavyweight boxing news and updates
- Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Oleksandr Usyk: Top heavyweight champions
- Boxing strategy: Targeting weaknesses in opponents
- The future of the heavyweight division
- How to watch the Zhang vs. Joyce rematch