Zhang Stops Joyce In The Third Round

Zhilei Zhang knocked out Joe Joyce in the third round to retain his WBO interim heavyweight belt and put himself in line as a mandatory for Oleksandr Usyk.

In a rematch of their first bout in which Joyce was stopped in the sixth round, the Brit must now regroup at the age of 38. The opening round was a cagey affair as both men were eying each other out. The second round changed all that as a one-two combination was backed up by a left hand that went through Joyce’s defense. A hook followed as Joyce was sent onto the ropes just before the bell.

It was once again a sign of ominous things to come as the Chinese found his left hand early on. And it all came to an end in the following round. Despite having a better start in the third, a jab followed by a right hook from Zhang sent the Brit to the canvas. Although Joyce did manage to get back up from the knockdown, the fight was waved off. The win took Zhang’s record to 25-1-1 as he called out Tyson Fury for a super fight. Meanwhile, Joyce faces serious question marks over where he goes next.


“I want to ask the audience a question. Do you want to see me shut Tyson Fury up? I am happy. Like I said before the fight, it is going to end sooner than the first fight and I did it. Joe, hell of a fighter, respect to him. I like him and respect him, everybody please care for him.

“This is what we’re here for, man. We’re professional fighters. We come here to entertain the crowd. We did it. I hope everybody enjoyed my performance. Thank you to everyone who came here today and witnessed my greatness in front of Chinese social media,” Zhang

“I’ve got plenty more in the tank. I’m just gonna have to have a bit of time off, then come back new and improved. Zhang is a great fighter and a great southpaw. He’s a fellow silver medallist and probably avoided by most. So it was probably a bit too far of a risk. I needed to fight a southpaw because I hadn’t fought a southpaw for a long time. But yeah it’s just disappointing because I got myself into the position I was in and then it was obviously a risk too far and I paid the price. This isn’t the end for me,” Joyce

Full Results

Zhilei Zhang def. Joe Joyce via a third-round knockout

Pierce O’Leary def. Kane Gardner via a unanimous decision: 100-90, 99-92 and 99-92

Anthony Yarde def. Ricky Summers via a second-round knockout

Sam Noakes def. Carlos Perez via a points decision

Zach Parker def.Β Khalid Graidia via a seventh-round TKO

Ezra Taylor def.Β Joel McIntyre via an eight-round TKO

Royston Barney-Smith def. Engel Gomez via a points decision

Moses Itauma def.Β Amine Boucetta via a first-round TKO

Tommy Fletcher def.Β Alberto Tapia via a sixth-round TKO

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