Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce will fight a second time on Saturday, giving the former a chance to prove his upset knockout in April was no fluke.
ZHILEI ZHANG (25-1-1, 20 KOs)
VS. JOE JOYCE (15-1, 14 KOs)
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
- Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (main event later in show)
- Where: OVO Arena Wembley, London
- TV/Stream: ESPN+
- Division: Heavyweight (no limit)
- At stake: No major titles
- Odds: Even (average of multiple outlets)
- Pound-for-pound: None
- Also on the card: Anthony Yarde vs. TBA, light heavyweights; Sam Noakes vs. Carlos Perez, lightweights; Pierce O’Leary vs. Kane Gardner, junior welterweights; Zach Parker vs. Khalid Graidia, super middleweights
- Prediction: Joyce UD
- Background: Joyce was moving rapidly toward a shot at a heavyweight title when Zhang shocked him and the boxing world by stopping the Briton in six rounds on April 15 in London. Zhang, a southpaw, used his punishing left hand to close Joyce’s right eye and force the referee to stop the fight. Zhang will have a chance to demonstrate that his victory was no fluke while Joyce fights to save his career as an elite fighter in the rematch. Zhang suffered his first career loss last August, when he ended up on the wrong end of a close decision to unbeaten Filip Hrgovic but pumped life into his career by giving a solid performance. Then came the opportunity to fight Joyce. The key to Zhang’s success wasn’t complicated: The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder from China couldn’t miss his straight left from beginning to end, which rattled Joyce several times and began to cause swelling on his eye after only a few rounds. Joyce had some success but couldn’t avoid Zhang’s left, which led to his demise. We’ll see in the rematch whether he will have made the necessary adjustments to the turn the tables.