Joyce was completely outclassed in the first fight, as Zhang’s left hand bamboozled the Brit, who had no answer to the Southpaw’s sustained attack.
And in doing so, the referee stopped the fight as Joyce’s eye closed up as a result of excessive swelling. The loss was a huge blow, given that it was the first defeat of Joyce’s career.
Joe Joyce primed for September 23 rematch with Zhilei Zhang, says after lessons learned from the loss he’s coming back to take what belongs to him #ZhangJoyce2 https://t.co/uhVDOi885u pic.twitter.com/vlWKoKaXmW
— Bad Left Hook (@badlefthook) June 29, 2023
Not only that, but he lost his WBO interim heavyweight title, thus jeopardizing his position as a mandatory to Oleksander Usyk.
In the aftermath, Joyce immediately exercised his rematch clause, which is why the ‘Juggernaut’ knows it is make or break for him.
“I’m coming back to take back what’s mine. September 23 I am leaving everything in that ring. No compromises. No underestimating my opponent. Nothing, but a win.
“Last time out I lost my undefeated professional record. It was hard to take. But after the dust settled, all that will do is make me better. I’ve learned lessons. I’m ready. And I am coming for everything,” Joyce
Nevertheless, Zhang will be a tough test. The victory was a renaissance in the 40-year-old’s career, as he rolled back the years.
And with the prospect of having a mega fight in China against a top name, Zhang does not intend on losing anytime soon.
“I created history last time. And I believe the best way to inherit history is to create new ones. I look at the rematch as if it was a new fight; I look at Joe Joyce as if I never fought him before. I started from zero and this is the new self,” Zhang