Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang, also known as the “Big Bang,” delivered a powerful performance this evening at the Copper Box in London as he pummelled Joe Joyce and delivered him with his first loss as a professional boxer.
The 39-year-old powerhouse from China, Zhilei Zhang, now with a 25-1-1 record and 20 KOs, faced Filip Hrgovic last year in Jeddah during the Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard. Despite a controversial points decision loss, Zhang remained undaunted by critics as he entered fight week against Joe Joyce, believing that Joe Joyce should and would win the fight comfortably.
Zhang’s professional career has experienced several setbacks, including a loss to Hrgovic, a draw against Jerry Forest, and subsequent hospitalization for kidney failure and anemia. Nevertheless, Zhang adjusted his diet and believes he has at least five more years in the sport.
During his first WBO Interim World Heavyweight title defense this evening, Joe Joyce faced Zhilei Zhang and was consistently hit by Zhang’s powerful left hand, resulting in significant damage to his right eye from the very first round.
Zhilei Zhang Really Is A Monster
Zhilei Zhang landed heavy blows on Joyce throughout the fight, both up close and from a distance. Joyce struggled to defend himself, and at one point, he was wobbled for the first time in his career, showcasing Zhang’s punching power.
In the 6th round, the referee stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor, bringing Joyce’s record to 15-1-0 with 14 KOs. Joyce may have only won a single round before the stoppage.
The severity of Joyce’s eye injury is still unknown. However, a rematch clause in the fight agreement favors Joyce in case of a loss, so a Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 might occur later in 2023.
With Joyce’s eye injury and the heavyweight titles tied up with other mandatory challengers and discussions of undisputed clashes, Joe may opt for some well-deserved time off before making a decision on what he will do next.