By Jake Tiernan: Joe Joyce says he going to be coming in “heavier” for his rematch with WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang this Saturday night in their 12roundhealiner on ESPN+ at the Wembley Arena in London, England.
Coming in heavier could work against Joyce, with him being even slower than last time and unable to get out of the way of Zhang’s powerful left-hand shots.
The only way it benefits Joyce to come in at a heavier weight is if he plans on outslugging Zhang in a war, which could be dangerous because he’s going to need to take a lot of hard shots from the better-skilled, more powerful, two-time Chinese Olympian.
Joyce (15-1,14 KOs)could come in close to 270 lbs for the fight, which would be considerably heavier than the 256 lbs he weighed for his previous contest with Zhang last April.
In his bout before that against Joseph Parker, Joyce had weighed 271lbs and had overpowered the former WBO champion, stopping him in the eleventh round.
The southpaw Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) weighed 278 lbs for his April fight with Joyce and stopped him in the sixth round after closing his right eye.
‘The Juggernaut’ has made changes
Joe Joyce: There’s a lot of bits & pieces that went wrong in the previous fight that have gone better this time, and also, southpaw is an awkward stance,” said ‘The Juggernaut’ to the talksport Boxing Internet community about his rematch with Zhilei Zhang this Saturday night.
“It’s benefited me having a second camp. I already know how to fight a southpaw, but better tactics. Now that I’ve shared the ring with him, I know what he’s about, and I’m a lot more prepared going into the second fight.
“It was amongst a lot of different things,” Joyce said when asked if the weight had anything to do with his performance last time against a heavier Zhang. “Because I was lighter, I should have been moving my feet more.
“There are so many things that I can nitpick that went wrong and put all those things right. I’ll show that on Saturday night. I’ll put all those things to bed,” said Joyce.
Spencer Oliver: “You chose to stand in front of him and have a dust-up, and that worked against you,” said Oliver about Joyce making the mistake of mixing it up with Zhang last April.
Joyce: “Definitely, it wasn’t good tactics last time, but this time, it’s all rectified. I’m going to come in heavier and more smart and use my head maybe a bit more.”
Joyce must move his head
Spencer: “That’s what you need to do, Joe. If someone throws punches at you, they’re going to hit you unless you move your head. I’m looking at you now. You look a lot bigger. What is the weight plan coming into this fight? It’s got to be, looking at you got to be 19 stone plus [266+ lbs].”
Joyce: “I’m a lot heavier than. I feel comfortable and happy, and a lot more switched on and clear with the game plan and tactics I need to employ for this fight. Zhang, looking at what his performance at himself, looks like he hasn’t enjoyed his victory. He’s been training hard, so it’s going to be a tough fight.”
Spencer: “That’s one thing we can guarantee, Joe, and I think both of you can guarantee. Saturday night is going to be fireworks. How do you turn this victory around? What do you do differently?”
Joyce: “Everything I need to do better than last time. I did have some success in that fight as the rounds went in, but my eye was swollen, and he was landing the more harder, eye-catching punches, but there were few of them.
“I was still hitting him with more punches, but they were less effective, maybe because I was at a lighter weight. Now heavier, I’ll be able to really dig them in properly.”
Spence: “Will we get a Joe Joyce victory on Saturday night?”
Joyce: “Yeah, that’s the plan. I going to get the W.”
Spencer: “Listen, guys. A Joe Joyce victory on Saturday night