By Jake Tiernan: Zhilei Zhang says Tyson Fury doesn’t have a chin and “will go down” under his power if he faces him next. Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) would like to challenge for a world title after his statement sixth-round technical knockout over WBO interim heavyweight champion Joe Joyce on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.
Zhang’s left-hand power proved too much for Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs), whose right eye swelled closed, causing the ringside doctor to stop the fight in the sixth round.
Joyce’s usually impregnable chin proved vulnerable, as he was hurt in the second round after getting nailed by a straight left hand from Zhang. Try as he might, ‘The Juggernaut’ never seemed to return from that.
Joyce applied a lot of pressure on Zhang in rounds three, four, and five, but his power wasn’t as formidable as it had been in his recent fights against Joseph Parker, Christian Hammer, and Carlos Takam.
Perhaps one reason for that was Joyce’s weight loss. He weighed in for this fight at 256 lbs, 15 pounds lighter than the 271 lbs he’d scaled in at for his previous fight against Parker.
Zhang wasn’t targeting Joyce’s right eye
“I’m very excited and happy today. Since I hurt him with the first couple of shots in the first round, I know he can’t make it. That’s why I was in London, to take it [WBO interim heavyweight title] away from him,” said Zhilei Zhang to iFL TV, reacting to his win over Joe Joyce on Saturday night.
“I wasn’t 100% targeting his eye area. I was targeting his chin. I wanted to test his chin, but it went to his eye, so that’s what happened,” said Zhilei when asked if he was targeting Joyce’s right eye after it began swelling up.
“This is the beginning. I’m going for the title. If my team says that, let’s do that. I can go either way,” said Zhang about his wish to fight WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury next.
“Yeah, he doesn’t have that chin. He will go down,” said Zhilei when asked if he could beat Fury.
“I still respect him. Actually, I respect him more after the fight,” said Zhang when asked if he still respects Joyce. “He’s a great fighter, very tough. He gave me a lot of pressure, but I made it through.
“Let’s see what Joe Joyce wants to do. If he wants a rematch, I’m here,” said Zhang.
It’s unlikely that Fury will agree to fight Zhang because he seems more focused on making as much money as possible before retiring. The guys that Fury is expected to fight are Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury won’t risk losing out on those money fights by taking on a dangerous puncher like Zhang and winding up like Joyce.