Joe Joyce to face Zhilei Zhang on April 15 in London
Heavyweight contender Joe Joyce will face Zhilei Zhang on April 15, Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions announced.
The 12-round bout, with the WBO interim world heavyweight title on the line, will take place at the Copper Box Arena in Joyce’s hometown of London, England and will air live on BT Sport.
“We want to keep ‘Big Joe’ busy while the heavyweight title scene unfolds but there can be no easy touches in a defense of his WBO interim title,” said Frank Warren. “Zhilei Zhang is anything but an easy touch, he is a formidable powerhouse who can consider himself unlucky not to be still an unbeaten contender following his fight with Filip Hrgovic last year.
“Zhang being a southpaw ticks a significant box for Joe, with (Oleksandr) Usyk being a left-hander and Tyson carrying the ability to adopt either stance. That is what we want next for Joe and, hopefully, it will be a huge all-British collision against Tyson.”
April 15 will be an intriguing clash between two power-punching heavyweights. Both are 6’6” and have won an Olympic silver medal.
Joyce (15-0, 14 knockouts) broke down former world heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker in his last bout on September 24, winning by knockout in the 11th round. The win over Parker took place almost three months after Joyce stopped Christian Hammer.
The 37-year-old Joyce, who is ranked No. 4 by The Ring, has victories over Daniel Dubois, Bryant Jennings, and Carlos Takam.
Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs), who is originally from Zhoukou, China and currently resides in Bloomfield, New Jersey, last fought on August 20, losing a close unanimous decision to contender Filip Hrgovic. In his previous fight on May 7, Zhang knocked out Scott Alexander in the opening round.
In an all action fight that took place in February 2021, Zhang dropped Jerry Forrest three times, but had to settle for a majority decision draw. Zhang was deducted a point in round 9, which cost him a unanimous decision victory.
The 39-year-old is managed by Terry Lane.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]