Eddie Hearn open to Zhilei Zhang fighting Anthony Joshua in December

By Boxing News - 09/26/2023 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn states he would be open to a fight between Anthony Joshua and Zhilei Zhang in December in China. If the Chinese government makes a big offer to stage the Zhang-Joshua fight in China, Hearn would be interested.

It might take a lot of money from China to encourage Hearn to let Joshua fight Zhang because there’s so much for AJ to lose in that fight. He’s already lost two out of his last four fights, and Hearn has pulled him back from fighting top-tier opposition.

Even with Hearn backing him away from fighting quality opposition, Joshua has still struggled in his last two fights against journeyman Robert Helenious & fringe-level Jermaine Franklin.

Hearn says they haven’t yet decided whether Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) will fight in December because they’re still focusing on the Deontay  Wilder clash, which he believes could take place in February or March.

If Joshua does fight in December, Hearn says he would be interested in WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) as the guy AJ goes up against.

Just how serious Hearn is about letting Joshua face Zhang is another question. The way Joshua has performed in his last seven fights dating back to  2019 suggests that he could wind up in the someplace Joe Joyce is now, with his career in a hopeless place.

Hearn reminds the viewers that Joshua beat Zhang in the 2012 London Olympics, and he feels AJ would defeat him again “comfortably.”

Many boxing fans felt that was one of four robberies that took place in the Olympics that year, which paved the way for Joshua to win a controversial gold medal.

Charles Brun had Zhang beating Joshua. He was lighting Joshua up with left hands to the head the entire fight. The judges scored it 15-11  for the home fighter,  Joshua. Again, the Olympics that year took place in London, England.

AJ’s other highly questionable wins in that Olympics were against these fighters:

  • Erislandy Savon [Cuba] – 17-16
  • Ivan Dychko [Kazakhstan] – 13-11
  • Roberto Cammarelle [Italy] – +18-18

The timidity that Joshua has shown since in his last six fights would make him an easy mark for Zhang, as the Wladimir Klitschko style that AJ is now using, involving jabbing, running & holding, won’t work against Zhang.

He would be the equivalent of a Corrie Sanders for Joshua, and we saw what the powerful South African fighter did to Wladimir.

“Yeah, we’ve always considered him for Anthony Joshua because I think it’s a massive fight in China,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social’s chatroom when asked about his thoughts on a fight between WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang and Anthony Joshua.

“When we had Zhilei Zhang, there wasn’t really the interest from China at the government level to bring a big fight there, but that would probably change now after the two Joe Joyce victories.

“I think, realistically, the Wilder fight now is going to happen in  February or March. We’ve got to make the decision if we fight in December. Would that be against Zhilei Zhang? For sure. If there was a big fight to be made in China, Joshua would have no problem taking that fight.”

Joshua might not have a problem agreeing to take the Zhang fight, but one can imagine that Hearn would. AJ is basically the golden goose for his promotional company, and if he throws him in with Zhang, he’s likely to get fried up nice & easy.

Hearn can forget about the Deontay Wilder fight if Zhang blasts Joshua to Neptune with one of his huge left hands because boxing fans won’t be interested in watching what’s left of AJ face ‘The Bronze Bomber’ under those conditions.

“He feels very comfortable fighting Zhang. He beat him before in the Olympics,” said Hearn. “We’ve seen a lot of Zhang as a team up close. Obviously, the fight on Saturday made him look very good and very dangerous, and he is a good fighter, but I feel that he’s very beatable, and I believe AJ would beat him comfortably. I have no problem discussing that fight,” said Hearn about Zhang as a possible fight for Joshua.

What is Hearn trying to kid? He obviously knows that Joshua is in no state to fight a killer like Zhang and clearly won’t make that fight unless the money that is offered from China is so good that he won’t mind throwing AJ in there for the feeding frenzy that would occur.

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