Heavyweight contender Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang are reportedly “closing in on” a deal for an April 15 fight, according to Mike Coppinger, with Keith Idec first reporting the news.
Notable here is that Joyce (15-0, 14 KO) probably wouldn’t be lining up an April fight unless Queensberry Promotions were pretty certain that Tyson Fury wouldn’t need to call on Joyce to be his next opponent, so this gives further hope that Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk will be getting done.
The 37-year-old Joyce last fought in Sept. 2022, beating Joseph Parker via 11th round knockout in a terrific fight from Manchester.
Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KO) is coming off of a loss to Filip Hrgovic last August, but it was a close, tough fight in Saudi Arabia, on the Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard, and some felt Zhang, 39, had a good argument for the win, even.
It’s a matchup of two big, bruising, hard-hitting, very sturdy heavyweights, and also a meeting between former Olympic silver medalists, with Joyce taking silver at Rio 2016 and Zhang at Beijing 2008.