Through three rounds, it was all going Zhilei Zhang’s way, as he dropped Jerry Forrest in each round to open their heavyweight contest on the Canelo-Yildirim card. But Forrest stayed in the fight, Zhang got tired, and the American underdog rallied for basically a miracle draw in the end.
Judges had the fight 95-93 Forrest, and two cards of 93-93 for the majority draw. Bad Left Hook had the fight 93-93 and 94-92 for Forrest on two separate cards.
Zhang (22-0-1, 17 KO) just plain gassed out after four rounds of action, and Forrest (26-4-1, 20 KO) took advantage. Zhang also lost a point in the ninth round for holding, which was frankly overdue at that point, and he might really be lucky he wasn’t docked two points for holding along the way, which would have given Forrest the win.
Forrest, 32, threw everything he had at the 37-year-old Zhang, a two-time Olympian who won a silver medal at Beijing 2008, particularly in the 10th and final round. He hammered away at the 6’6” southpaw, but Zhang was tough enough, even exhausted, to stay up and salvage a draw.
This obviously puts some dent in the idea of Zhang facing former amateur rival Anthony Joshua in Beijing or Shanghai at some point, but also maybe not as big of one as you might expect. It’s not really an interesting fight on paper — Zhang just isn’t a top pro — but there will still be money in Zhang facing a big name in China, and money makes the sport go ‘round, of course.
For Jerry Forrest, this is a momentous result after a terrible start, and keeps him in the mix as a high-level gatekeeper, someone who will take on basically anyone and give it the effort. He’s a danger to prospects and mid-tier veterans alike.
Zhang vs Forrest Highlights
Zhang knocks down Forrest in the first round pic.twitter.com/wzg9JBtjrw— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021
ZHANG KNOCKS DOWN FORREST AGAIN pic.twitter.com/tHmaZk23iG— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021
Three Rounds, Three Knock-Downs for Zhang pic.twitter.com/qoTQhLXr0u— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021