China’s Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang has emerged as the mandatory challenger to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk after defeating Britain’s Joe Joyce in a heavyweight bout. The fight was stopped by referee Howard Foster in the sixth round after the ringside doctor inspected Joyce’s puffed-up right eye, which was almost closed. Two of the three judges had Zhang ahead at that point. Zhang, who had suffered his first career defeat by Croatian Filip Hrgovic in August, said he was disciplined and trained hard, and was now going for the title. Joyce, who was the WBO interim champion in the division, had been eyeing potential fights with Usyk, Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua in the build-up to his fight with Zhang.
Zhang had his shorter and lighter opponent in trouble from early on as Joyce provided a static target for Zhang’s booming left hand and plenty of work for his corner as cuts opened up. Joyce said he was disappointed with his performance and couldn’t get out of the way of Zhang’s right hand. He added that he expected to win like he normally did and that he would be back. Promoter George Warren said Joyce may seek a rematch with Zhang.
The victory for Zhang marked a comeback from his first career defeat by Croatian Filip Hrgovic in August. Zhang is 39 years old and has been disciplined in his training. He is now focused on challenging Usyk for the title. Usyk is the WBO, IBO, IBF and WBA champion, while Tyson Fury holds the WBC title.
Zhang’s victory over Joyce has put him in a strong position to challenge Usyk for the heavyweight title. He has shown that he has the power and discipline to take on the best in the world. His booming left hand and strong work ethic have made him a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division.
Usyk will be a tough opponent for Zhang, but he has shown that he is up for the challenge. Usyk is a skilled fighter who has dominated the heavyweight division in recent years. He has a record of 18 wins and no losses, with 13 of those wins coming by knockout. He is known for his speed, footwork and technical ability.
Zhang will need to be at his best if he is to defeat Usyk. He will need to use his power and strength to overcome Usyk’s speed and technical ability. He will also need to be disciplined in his training and preparation, as Usyk is a formidable opponent who will not be easy to beat.
In conclusion, Zhang’s victory over Joyce has made him the mandatory challenger to Usyk for the heavyweight title. He has shown that he has the power and discipline to take on the best in the world. His booming left hand and strong work ethic have made him a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. However, he will need to be at his best if he is to defeat Usyk, who is a skilled fighter with a record of 18 wins and no losses.