WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhang Zhilei has targeted WBC champion Tyson Fury for his next appearance. / Photo: Instagram @zhileibigbangzhang
BLOOMFIELD – WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhang Zhilei has targeted WBC champion Tyson Fury for his next appearance. However, before securing the duel, he must defeat Joe Joyce in a rematch at Wembley Arena, London, Saturday (23/9/2023) local time.
The heavyweight giant from China previously surprisingly managed to break Joyce’s undefeated record with a TKO victory in the sixth round. The victory, which occurred on April 16 in London, also saw Zhang win the WBO interim title from Joyce.
If this 40 year old left-handed boxer beats Joyce again, then he will continue his hunt for Tyson Fury. “I’m a little disappointed because I was very, very close to making the fight against Tyson Fury happen, right before Joe activated the rematch clause,” said Zhang, as quoted by Sky Sports, recently.
“But we have this in the contract. I have to sign a rematch clause to get the first fight. So I will do whatever is right, namely a rematch,” he continued.
Zhang’s manager, Terry Lane, is optimistic that his hard-hitting boxer will prove himself as one of the elite fighters in the heavyweight division.
“I think a win for Zhilei on Saturday really separates the heavyweight division. If he wins, you really have Fury, Usyk and Zhang at the top. The others will be far, far down,” said Lane.
“If Zhilei wins, as we hope, Fury is our first target. We have to sit down and see what fights will happen, and perhaps more importantly, which fights will not happen,” he added.
In the first match against Joyce, Zhang repeatedly landed heavy blows, which caused swelling above Joyce’s right eye, and forced the referee to stop the fight.
“I would say this is instinct, because in the first match I didn’t expect his eyes to be like that at all,” explained Zhang.
“It exposed his weaknesses. So I would be a fool if I didn’t continue to exploit that,” he continued.
Like Joyce, Zhang is an Olympic silver medalist, although his bid for a second medal at the 2012 Olympics ended in defeat to Anthony Joshua.