Zhilei Zhang exploited a lack of defence against Joe Joyce last time in out in April – does former super-middleweight champion, Carl Foch, believe he can do it again?
Joyce must be commended for taking the rematch just five months on from the first loss of his career. He was outclassed by southpaw Zhang, whose accurate work injured the eye of the Brit to force a stoppage in the sixth.
Speaking to TalkSPORT, Froch said that Joyce ‘doesn’t have it in his arsenal’ to avoid those shots.
“I just thought that Zhang was timing him nicely with that backhand. Walking him into it, picking him off with the jab and then timing him. It caused the damage on the eye. You want Joe Joyce to be able to just get his head off the centre, maybe get his guard up, block a few shots, roll and slip, but he just doesn’t do any of that. He hasn’t got it in his arsenal.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. What age is he? 38? So he’s not going to change. He’s going to come and do what he does and hope his fitness and his strength is enough to win. But Zhang I feel has got his number.”
‘The Cobra’ then echoed the thoughts of many as to what Joyce needs to do against Zhang, who is 40-years-old and has never stopped an opponent after the sixth round.
“Not get hit early on, make Zhang work. But to do that he’s going to have to defend himself, and he’s got no defence. He’s got no head movement. If he’s walking into shots, I feel like the writing’s on the wall. This is a must-win fight for him as well, otherwise where does he go? Back-to-back defeats against Zhang – he’s in trouble.”
Ultimately, Froch is leaning towards repeat rather than revenge.
“Yeah listen if I was lumping a bet on it, I’d say Zhang is the smart money. But it’s a two horse race. Anything can happen, and Joe Joyce would’ve learnt from that. He was devastated.”
Zhang and Joyce run it back on TNT Sports this Saturday for the WBO Interim Heavyweight title.