Joe Joyce was an 11-to-1 favorite in the April clash, when lefty Zhang Zhilei got underestimated in that scrap, which he won via stoppage.
They rematch Saturday at 02 Arena at Wembley Stadium, in a heavyweight clash screening on ESPN+.
The Brit Joyce (15-1) is much heavier for this fight than the first, and word is he had his head properly screwed on ahead of this sequel scrap.
So no, it feels like the 37 year Joyce isn’t feeling damaged from the April loss.
But once the 40 year old Chinese native Zhang (25-1-1) starts landing sharp lefts, at that once compromised eye, well, let’s see how this plays out.
Lots of chatter coming in. Can Joyce be better defensively, so he can take the fight into deeper waters, where he thinks Zhilei Zhang will fade.
We were too harsh on Joyce, overreacting to his first loss? We have a tendency to do that…
ESPN’s Tim Bradley right before the bout told viewers he’s thinking ZZ is likely to win, as the better boxer.
The WBO interim heavyweight crown, taken by ZZ off JJ in April, was up for grabs, by the way.
We saw a large flab roll on ZZ. JJ moved left to start, smartly. ZZ slow start, did throw big left once on first minute. Slow round through two minutes. Nice body shot by ZZ late. No one won that one, really. EVEN
ZZ more active to start. With jab, then left, he moves a bit more, to his left. One minute in a straight left from ZZ, the crowd liked it. JJ ate one…ZZ is aggressive and now JJ wakes up, moves forward. Zhilei Zhang landed clean again late. ZHANG
JJ starts with pep, he knew his patience wasn’t helping him. Then he reverts to waiting ie being “smart” defensively.
Zhilei Zhang is the better ring general, he’s relaxed and also not wanting to shoot his load. ZZ hunted, Joyce now backing up. “Target practice,” said Tim Bradley.
Down goes JJ, he didn’t beat the count! Right hook exploded.
He froze Joyce with a left to the body.
JJ edged left, went to counter with a right, and the hook explode on his face. he pitched face first, got to his feet, but so dazed, he couldn’t continue. He couldn’t beat the count…
ZHANG WINNER BY KO
Zhilei Zhang is now 26-1-1.
Tim Bradley called Zhang a “superstar” in the making after the stoppage…