Their only meeting took place at the 2012 London Olympics as Joshua won a unanimous decision. Their careers have taken on different paths since then. Joshua was a former Unified Heavyweight Champion on two occasions, who is now wanting to become a three-time World Champion.
A win over Francis Ngannou in his next fight puts him in line to face the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship. Zhang is having a resurgence, getting his best wins at the latter end of his career. Two knockout wins over Joe Joyce back-to-back made him the WBO Heavyweight Interim Champion. He now takes on Joseph Parker on the Joshua-Ngannou undercard, with the aim of facing AJ if he comes through.
“I think everyone knows I want to fight AJ. We fought in the Olympics in 2012 and he beat me. But that was a long time ago. I am here if they want to do it. I want that fight very much – maybe I can ask him in person come 8 March. It is also my dream to fight in at home in China someday. Will it be next? I don’t know. But I am working with my promoter to explore the option,” Zhang said
Parker is not to be underestimated, given that he has just had his best win. A unanimous decision win over Deontay Wilder has put him in the mix for a Joshua fight too. Parker lost his WBO Heavyweight Title to Joshua in 2018. But after the Wilder win, his team has set their sights on getting the rematch.
“Joseph has earned that fight [with Joshua] in my opinion and the Saudis would see merit in Parker against Anthony Joshua. It might not be next, there might be a bit more work to do but I think that’s the fight fans want to see. It’s a merit-based fight.
“In terms of opponents, Joseph will fight anyone and if you look at all the names on his resume from Derek Chisora twice, Joe Joyce, Joshua, Wilder, Dillian Whyte, the list goes on and he’s still only 31-years-old. We’ll fight Anthony Joshua in a heartbeat. Everyone knows Joseph will fight him next,” David Higgins (Parker’s promoter) stated