Joyce Feels Zhang’s Big Bang; Again…

When Joe Joyce said he wouldn’t be doing much differently when rematching Zhilei Zhang, the fighter who stopped him in 6 when they fought in April, many thought that foolhardy, ridiculous even.

Joyce had to do something, anything, different to stop a fighter who worked behind the jab and outboxed him in the first fight.

Some looked at Zhang’s age (he’s 40) and thought that it was a fluke, but that was surely people who didn’t see the fight.

Joyce was comprehensively beaten then and many, me included, thought he was overmatched. He may have told Sky Sports, after the first defeat;

“I’m coming back to take back what’s mine,” Joyce said. “September 23 I am leaving everything in that ring. No compromises. No underestimating my opponent. Nothing, but a win…’

When It Hurts To Be Right

But Joyce did do something different this time out. He immediately tried to find some different angles and made himself a narrower target.

It didn’t work. It just didn’t. Zhang was able to hit Joe in the face repeatedly, with worrying ease, even when there was a guard in front of him, Zhang just powered through it.

Zhang, twice winner against Joycd

Credit; Boxing Scene

And when hit with combos, Joyce didn’t fight back to show he was still in it, didn’t cover up, just seemed resigned to the thumps.

The End Comes Quickly For Joyce

If you’re Joyce, you’ll want to be wary of the right, keep circling away from it, don’t let Zhang walk you onto it.

Joyce walked right into a huge right and went down heavily; he got up, but too late and the ref would surely have had to ask serious questions had he beaten the count handily.

This was in round 3. It took Zhang half the time to get the win. You could say that Zhang was lucky, that he landed a lucky punch and I’d pull this face…

Credit; Tenor

Because although Joyce was trying to work his way into the round, Zhang was still keeping him at distance with the jab and still landing shots to the head and body, seemingly whenever he wanted to.

Credit; The Independent

Zhang The Next Big Time Heavyweight?

No. Being a seasoned individual myself, I’ve never been one to count out people due to age, but Zhang might not have my opportunities to make his current success work.

And then there’s Oleksandr Usyk, who Zhang has called out. Zhang can bang, but Usyk has silky skills for a Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight, if you must) and although Zhang will probably be there at the end, I can’t see him giving Usyk too much to worry about.

The Drawing Board Beckons

Joyce needs to rebuild. As TalkSport had it;

‘Juggernaut’ instantly turned his attention to a rematch, but his career has now been left in tatters after he failed to regain his WBO interim heavyweight title…’

It could be said that Zhang is his bogey fighter, an opponent he will never beat. It could be right, but to do nothing because this is seen as an anomaly is dangerous, to think Joe doesn’t need any new training isn’t ideal at all; working on concentration and defense would be a good start.

The people being mentioned as possible opponents? Dillian Whyte. A Joseph Parker rematch. Derek Chisora has waded in with his thoughts. After all, he beat Parker; yes, but why go back? He’s lost his chance to challenge Oleksandr Usyk, anything else is bound to look like a step down – why not take a younger, growing opponent. Mind you, that has a banana skin possibility; not easy, is it?

There’d be little reason for these matches, only a rebuilding; fights of little consequence or resonance.

But that’s where Joe Joyce is now.

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