Joyce was comprehensively stopped in the sixth-round, as Zhang’s left hand continued to trouble the Brit’s eye which swelled up.
As a result, the referee stopped the bout as Joe lost his WBO interim belt. That cost Joyce the right to face Oleksandr Usyk for all of his belts at some point in the future.
However, the rematch provides an opportunity to right those wrongs. And that is precisely what Joyce is looking to do.
Joyce On Zhang
“Once I get this interim title back, I’m right back in place to fight for [the IBF, WBA and WBO] titles. It was very important to fight Zhang again right away. Once I regain that title, I’m right back in the mandatory position. Obviously it will be the IBF and Hrgovic next for the mandatories,” acknowledged Joyce. “Then after I regain the belt and my mandatory ranking, it will be my turn. That’s what makes the rematch so important. I needed it to get back in place to become heavyweight champion of the world,” Joyce
Nevertheless, a defeat would be catastrophic. At the age of 37, Joe is entering into the latter parts of his career. And with the belts tied up between Tyson Fury and Usyk, the ‘Juggernaut’ does not have too much time left to secure a world title shot.
However, the same goes for the 40-year-old Zhang. The Chinese has had a resurgence of late when it comes to his career. Prior to the Joyce fight, he had come second best to Filip Hrgovic.
However, many believed that Zhang should have been given the victory. And once again Zhang is keen to prove his doubters wrong.
Zhang On Joyce
“I would have chosen to fight one or two interim fights if I was him. I don’t know why his team is in such a rush to make it happen. I feel like his team made a mistake for the first fight, and now they’re probably going to make the second mistake, and if I beat Joe Joyce again his career’s going to end,” Zhang stated
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