Zhang Zhilei, once chasing Anthony Joshua, proves a dud – fails audition

A heavyweight signed by Matchroom Boxing for a future clash with Anthony Joshua has proven to be a dud after drawing with a top division journeyman.

Zhang Zhilei was held over ten rounds by Jerry Forrest. A heavyweight Gerald Washington previously stopped in two rounds.

Even though Zhang dropped Forres three times in the first three rounds, the stalemate happened. He gassed out badly.

Now 22-0-1, Zhang is further away from Joshua than ever. Promoter Eddie Hearn hoped that Joshua vs. Zhang could potentially take place in China.

That fight is now off the menu, even though Joshua would have to beat Tyson Fury twice to get here – if that battle ever goes ahead.

Before the contest, which ended as a ten-round majority draw, Zhang had said: “I want to say thanks to everybody who comes here.

“Thank you, Eddie Hearn, Matchroom, and DAZN. All I want to say is I’m ready to go.”

In what now seem to be poignant words, Zhang added: “I go one step at a time. I never look past him.

“I’ll see what happens after the fight, and we’ll go from there. But right now, my focus is Saturday night.”

Zhang Zhilei
Melina Pizano

ZHANG ZHILEI

Forrest, who also lost to Michael Hunter, Jermaine Franklin, and Carlos Takam, issued a warning to Zhang pre-fight.

“I had to make sure I took the proper steps to be the best I could be in this fight. That’s what I’ve been trying to produce this entire camp.

“Therefore, be ready, focus, and keep my eyes on the prize.

“He’s a great fighter. When you’re talking about Olympic fighters, this man is a good fighter.

“We had to come up with a game plan. We have a game plan that we plan on sticking to. When you’re fighting top guys like Zhilei Zhang, you have to be ready.”

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.

WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.