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Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei signs with Matchroom, plans November return

Zhang was last seen beating Andriy Rudenko in November

Zhang Zhilei v Glenn Thomas Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

China’s premier heavyweight, 2008 Olympic gold medalist “Big Bang” Zhang Zhilei, has joined forces with Matchroom Boxing ahead of a planned November return to the ring.

“I’m very happy to enter into an agreement with Matchroom,” said Zhang. “They are one of the best promoters in the world. I’m the best heavyweight coming out of China.

“I just need an opportunity to become the best in the world which I strongly believe that Matchroom is able to provide. With each of us focused on our part, I wish a happy and successful future together.”

The 37-year-old Zhang (21-0, 16 KO) was a highly accomplished amateur, medaling twice at Worlds alongside success in the Asian championships and the Olympics, but has yet to accomplish anything of note after six years as a professional besides a six-fight stretch of first-round knockouts against nobodies. He was due for a solid step up against Sergey Kuzmin last November, but settled for taking a decision over Andriy Rudenko after Kuzmin broke his foot.

Nonetheless, Eddie Hearn is confident about Zhang’s future.

“The heavyweight scene couldn’t be any hotter right now, so this is the perfect time for Zhilei to get back into action and throw his name into the mix,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Zhilei is ready to take on all-comers and as he aims for his 22nd win in November, the next step for ‘Big Bang’ then will be to face his fellow top-class contenders and get in position for a world title shot.”

As Zhang trains out of New Jersey, there are two upcoming DAZN cards he could land on: Devin Haney’s return on November 7th and Daniel Jacobs’ return on the 28th.

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