Rumors recently emerged that WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang, fresh off an upset stoppage of Joe Joyce, was the front runner to face Tyson Fury in “The Gypsy King’s” planned summer return. Those plans may have just hit a snag, as Joyce manager Adam Morallee tells Mike Coppinger that “The Juggernaut” has activated his rematch clause.
There was nothing controversial about Zhang’s (25-1-1, 20 KO) TKO finish; “Big Bang” exploited Joyce’s (15-1, 14 KO) notoriously poor defense to land a never-ending stream of straight lefts that ultimately closed Joyce’s right eye in the sixth. It’s a deeply unnecessary rematch, especially considering that it’s now or never for the 40-year-old Zhang if he wants a championship fight in anything resembling top form.
There’s admittedly some intrigue; Joyce tends to pick up steam and Zhang tends to fade, so there’s no telling what would have happened if Joyce’s skin held up as well as his brain. It would just suck to see Zhang, already screwed out of a title fight once due to poor judging against Filip Hrgovic, yanked away from the biggest opportunity of his career.
That said, Joyce apparently “has the option to hold the rematch with Zhang in either of Zhang’s next two fights.” Fingers crossed he lets Zhang go for gold before settling the score.