By Geoffrey Ciani: It has not been a particularly great year for heavyweight boxing, but one this year’s standout boxers has been Zhilei ‘Big Bang’ Zhang.
It was an unusual set of circumstances that allowed Zhang the opportunity to become a breakthrough high profile contender at the age of 40. This past weekend Zhang had a rematch against the man he beat 5 months earlier, Joe Joyce.
Both boxers came in a good deal heavier this time, and Zhang proved it was no fluke the first time around. After measuring things out in round 1 and gauging any shift in tactics from The Juggernaut, Big Bang Zhang opened up nicely in round 2 where an uncertain Joyce already looked deflated. Near the end of the following round, Zhang ended matters with a clubbing right hook that smashed Joyce. Right now, Big Bang Zhang at the age of 40 has single-handedly kept the heavyweight division interesting, first scoring the heavyweight upset of the year, and following it up with the heavyweight knockout of the year.
Zhang has been the big heavyweight standout in 2023, but at age 40, time is not on his side, especially because fighters simply do not fight very often, with longer stretches of inactivity between heavyweights at the top level. On top of that, the division is likewise at the mercy of the alphabet bodies and all of the nonsensical politics that entails, and at the end of the day, Zhang poses a high level risk that might not be worth the reward without a major title on the line.
This edition of Rummy’s Corner will provide a quick review of the unusual circumstances that led to the rise of Big Bang Zhang at age 40. The video will also explore some of the shortcomings in today’s heavyweight boxing scene, where top heavyweights are squaring off less and less, and some of them aren’t fighting at all in the lethargic state of today’s division. This is Rummy’s Corner (produced and narrated by Geoffrey Ciani).