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Home » Joe Joyce gets ‘Zhanged’ by Chinese Juggernaut, has backup plan

Joe Joyce gets ‘Zhanged’ by Chinese Juggernaut, has backup plan

Zhilei Zhang scored a significant upset against Joe Joyce in the UK as the Chinese juggernaut booked his place in line for a world title.

The southpaw moved to 25-1-1 with a 20th career knockout when stopping Joyce in the sixth round. In the process, he earned his most significant victory and the WBO interim heavyweight championship.

Zhang stunned Joyce with strong left hands in the first two rounds. In the next round, Joyce tried to step up his offense, but his inability to see Zhang’s left hand stunted his momentum.

Joe Joyce stopped by Zhilei Zhang

By rounds four and five, Zhang began comfortably landing his shots from close range. As Joyce’s right eye swelled, he used his high guard defense to avoid return fire.

After two inspections from the ringside doctor, referee Howard Foster was forced to end the fight at 1:23 of round six.

By the end, Joyce’s eye was a mess.

Discussing his win, Zhang said: “Today belongs to me. It belongs to everyone who showed up. It belongs to every Chinese person who showed up today.

“I’m 39 years old. But I’m disciplined. I train hard. The next step is for me to fight for a world title.”

Joyce was as honest as ever in the aftermath.

“I’m just disappointed with my performance. The [left] hand kept hitting me. I couldn’t get out of the way. So, big respect to Zhilei Zhang. It was a good fight, but I could have done better.

“I haven’t fought a southpaw for so long. Credit to him because he’s a good fighter. I gave it my all, and I think I can do better. It’s just disappointing. I expected to win like I normally do.”

Rematch clause

Speaking to BBC Sport, Joyce addressed the rematch clause and said he has a backup plan that includes the rematch clause to win back his place in the rankings.

“We’re going to discuss it,” Joyce said. “I could have one in between. I’m just going to decide.

“I’m going to have some time off. I will reflect and watch the tape back. I need to see where I went wrong. I’ve had my loss, but I’ll be back. The journey will continue.”

Concluding by updating on his gruesome injury, Joyce added: “I can still see through it [the eye]. I think it’s just bruised.

“It’s a formality to go to the hospital now to check it’s not fractured or anything. It looks like I’ve got a Terminator eye now [he walked into the ring to the Terminator music]. It’s unfortunate, but I’ll be back. I thought I was doing well there [but he lost every round].

“I couldn’t get away from his straight left. He kept on nailing me in the eye. It swelled up my eye.”

Before the fight, Zhang told Joyce, “You’ll get Zhanged!” – And that’s precisely what happened in London.

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