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Joe Joyce And Zhilei Zhang Settle For Rematch On September 23

Joe Joyce And Zhilei Zhang Settle For Rematch On September 23 featured image
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: Joe Joyce congratules Zhilei Zhang after being defeated in the WBO Interim World Heavyweight Title fight between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang at Copper Box Arena on April 15, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Both the former and current WBO interim Heavyweight champions, Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang, will step into the ring on September 23 once more following their April 15th bout this year that ended up with Joyce being stopped. Their rematch is set to take place at the OVO Arena in London.

British Heavyweight Joe Joyce (15-1, 14 KO’s) had performed disappointingly in his last fight with Chinese Heavyweight Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KO’s), ending up losing in the sixth round despite going into the match as a favorite. Though the match is set to take place in Joyce’s hometown of London, the Brit will head into his bout with Zhang as the underdog this time around according to recent betting odds.

Zhilei Zhang, had been linked with fighting former unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KO’s) in the past which would have potentially pushed him into the limelight even with a loss, but it was his opportunity on April 15 against another Brit in Joe Joyce that would truly help introduce the world to Zhilei Zhang.

Zhang had also previously impressed during his first professional loss to Croatian Heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KO’s) who defeated him by a controversial unanimous decision on August 20th in 2022, but overturned all doubts of his ability with a dominant display over Joe Joyce who, at that point in his career, had been considered one of the best Heavyweights in the world.

While Zhilei Zhang certainly proved his mettle last time around in April, the Chinese Heavyweight will now likely go up against an improved Joe Joyce. With the sticking point that led to Joyce’s loss being his lack of defense, it is expected that the Brit will integrate whatever improvements he needs to ensure that he can come out the winner.

Though both men sport a height of 6’6, Zhang differentiated himself from Joyce by utilizing his power to maximum effect Zhang differentiated himself from Joyce by utilizing his power to maximum effect, which can be attributed to more than just the 12-pound weight advantage he had in the first match. Joyce, having never dealt with such power, fell victim to the Chinese Heavyweight’s onslaught and incurred an eye injury that forced the referee to stop the fight in the sixth.

The rematch will also feature two decorated amateurs stepping into the ring once more, which is a testament to the sport of amateur boxing that has produced countless elite-level boxers for the professional ranks. The bout will surely be an intriguing clash once more, with neither fighter truly having an advantage in either age (with Zhang being 40 and Joyce 37) or technical ability to be able to deny the winner a deserved victory.