By Brian Webber: Promoter Frank Warren says heavyweight Joe Joyce needs to think about which direction to take his career following his shocking third round knockout loss to Zhilei Zhang last Saturday night in their rematch at the OVO Arena in London.
As Warren states, there was nothing much going on in the first couple of rounds, and he feels that Joyce (15-2, 14 KOs) lost concentration for a moment in the third and was knocked out by a huge right hook from Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs).
The defeat of the 38-year-old Joyce was his second to Zhang, and there are a lot of questions about whether he should continue on. If Joyce does fight on, will he be dropped down to an undercard slot?
Joyce can forget about his hopes of challenging IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk next year because that’s not happening.
Joyce needs to take risks
If Joyce is going to get back to where he was before, he’ll need to take risks with his career by fighting the best possible opposition. ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce isn’t young enough to be rebuilt slowly over two or three years like normal fighters after they lose a couple of times.
Joyce needs to fight a top-five contender to position himself to get a title shot. One of these top five contenders would be ideal for Joyce to fight next:
– Arslanbek Makhmudov
– Frank Sanchez
– Jarrell Miller
– Lenier Pero
– Andy Ruiz Jr
– Jared Anderson
– Martin Bakole
“I thought the first two rounds Joe’s tactics were good. He kept moving to his left, and that was negating Zhang, and I thought there was nothing in it,” said Frank Warren to the media, discussing Joe Joyce’s knockout loss to Zhilei Zhang last Saturday night in London.
Joyce wasn’t throwing any punches in the first two rounds, and he got lit up in the second by Zhang. The tactics were not working for Joyce because his punch output was virtually zero, and wasn’t going to win the fight like that, particularly with the way he was taking heavy shots from Zhang.
A lapse of concentration
“In the third round, a bit of a lapse of concentration, heart ruling the head, and had a little bit of a tear up, and he got caught with a massive, massive shot of world-class knockout punch,” said Warren.
Joyce seemed to realize that he had to let his hands go in the third, and when he did, he got nailed by a perfect right hand counter from Zhang that he didn’t see coming.
“He’s promoted by us; we’re his promoters. He’s got fights with us, don’t you worry about that,” said Warren when asked how many more fights Zhang has left with his promotional contract with Queensberry.
“I think he’s got a lot to think about. Obviously, it’s very raw, and he’s not going to make a decision now but over the next few weeks. I’m sure the people around him are going to give him their opinions,” said Warren when asked what Joe Joyce would do now.
“He’s got to make his decision. I was shocked. I thought if he got beat, he’d get beat on points. I thought the first couple of rounds, he was dealing with it,” said Warren about Joyce.
Joe said after the fight that he won’t be retiring, and he mentioned a possible rematch with Daniel Dubois. It’s hard to imagine Queensberry making a second fight between Joyce & Dubois at this stage.
There’s too much to lose for the 25-year-old Dubois, who looked like he quit in his recent knockout loss to Oleksandr Usyk.
“There was nothing in it, but Joe’s got a good chin,” said Warren. “We’ve seen it on many occasions it being tested, but this guy caught him with a world-class punch, and Zhang’s put himself in the top
four heavyweights in the world.
“There’s no doubt about it now. He’s a force to be reckoned with in heavyweight position,” said Warren about Zhang.