Zhilei Zhang Sounds Off: Confidence, Parker, and Heavyweight Dreams

By Jay McIntyre - 02/22/2024 - Comments

WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang says he’s confident of victory for his title defense against Joseph Parker on March 8th at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Zhang feels that his consecutive knockout wins over Joe Joyce give him an edge over the former WBO champion Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) in their co-feature bout on the Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou card.

Parker was knocked out in the eleventh round by Joyce in September 2022 and had problems with him from round one.

Although some boxing fans believe Parker’s recent win over Deontay Wilder last December is a signal that he’s improved, it’s more of a case of the 38-year-old ‘The Bronze Bomber’ no longer being the fighter he once was due to a combination of age, inactivity, ring wear and a loss of hunger.

Analyzing Parker’s Loss to Joyce

“I thought Joyce was controlling the fight from round one to round 11, and Joyce gave Parker a lot of pressure. I could see Parker landed multiple shots on Joe Joyce, but he didn’t do the damage he wished,” said Zhilei Zhang to iFL TV, talking about Joseph Parker’s loss to Joe Joyce in 2022.

“Those two victories [over Joyce] boosted my confidence, and I’m really confident going into the Parker fight.”

There’s no question that Joyce did a number on Parker and made him look bad with the way he caved in under the pressure that he put on him. If Parker chooses to engage against the big 6’6″ Zhang, he won’t last long. If he runs, that’s not a recipe for winning the fight.

“You have to ask Eddie [Hearn] if he wants to put Joshua against me, but I do want to make it happen,” said Zhang when asked if he would like to fight Anthony Joshua.

Zhang Hopes Fury Trains for Usyk 

“With Tyson Fury, he runs his mouth, he changes up. I’m not saying he produced the cut himself, but there are so many variables going towards that May 18th fight, and anything can happen.

“I think it depends on how he prepares for the fight. If he’s disciplined, he has the leverage, and this is an undisputed fight that everyone wants to see in the heavyweight division,” said Zhang on who wins between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

“I really do hope he trains hard and pays attention to details,” said Zhang.

YouTube video