Undefeated in 15 professional fights and earning a world championship for the first time in his career last September, Olympic silver medalist boxer, Joe Joyce puts his interim division crown on the line, as well as his undefeated record against Chinese veteran challenger, Zhilei Zhang this weekend in the capital.
Boasting an unbeaten 15-0 professional record, Joyce, the current interim WBO heavyweight champion, takes on the 39-year-old challenge, Zhang, who dropped his first professional loss in the form of a decision defeat to Filip Hrgovic on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk’s title rematch win over Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia last August.
For Joyce, the renowned knockout artist looks to solidify his status as interim gold holder under the governing body of the WBO, and defend a crown he won with a penultimate round KO of former world champion, Joseph Parker at the AO Arena in Manchester last September.
Yet to taste defeat in the wake of a run of victories over division veterans, Joyce is touted to retain and improve on his undefeated record this weekend in London against Zhang – with BetWay currently placing the Londoner as a massive -1,000 betting favorite against the Chinese challenger, Zhang.
A former WBO oriental heavyweight titleholder, Zhang has a ultimately slight chance of upsetting the odds and handing Joyce his first loss according to bettors and punters, with the 39-year-old placed as a massive +600 underdog to win interim WBO spoils.
A former Commonwealth and European Games boxing gold medalist, Joyce, touted as one of the most promising boxers to come out of the UK during his rise through the heavyweight ranks, took silver at the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Embarking on somewhat of a legend killing tour before his knockout victory over Parker last September, Joyce had also landed triumphs over the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Carlos Takam, and is the only man to defeat current WBA regular heavyweight champion, Daniel Dubois.
Boasting an incredible 93% knockout rate with 14 finishes in 15 professional victories, Joyce can be backed also as short as -300 to land a knockout win over Zhang this weekend at the Copper Box in London – with the latter returning and hotly-closing as a +800 to hand Joyce what would be his first loss, and first defeat by stoppage to boot.
The current WBO interim heavyweight champion, Joyce will have one eye firmly placed on the future of WBA, IBF, and IBO heavyweight gold holder, Usyk – who continues to find himself linked to a heavyweight championship title unification clash against WBC heavyweight kingpin, Tyson Fury.
A former WBO oriental heavyweight champion, Zhang, also a silver medalist at the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, defeated Peter Graham with a blistering first round knockout in their January 2017 on home soil in his native China.
Turning professional in 2017, amongst his run of victories over veteran former titleholders and title challengers, Joyce has been heralded in wins over the likes of Alexander Ustinov, Michael Wallisch, and Christian Hammer.