Eddie Hearn has spoken out on Zhilei Zhang’s upset win over Joe Joyce this past weekend, and urged the boxing public to calm down on the hype around the Chinese southpaw.
Zhang put in a career best performance to capture the WBO Interim world title from Joyce at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday night.
Repeated straight left hands caused ‘The Juggernaut’s eye to close over and leaving referee Howard Foster no alternative but to wave the fight off in the sixth round.
Despite the impressive showing, Hearn named three heavyweights he believes would “destroy” Zhang when speaking to IFL TV.
“Now it’s like Zhang is the new powerhouse of heavyweight boxing! I mean, he’s a good fighter and he’s a lump, but Wilder destroys him, Tyson Fury destroys him and ‘AJ’ destroys him.”
“People talk about the speed of Zhang – he ain’t fast. Get in there with Joshua, get in there with Wilder, or even Fury, and see what fast is”
Joyce went into the contest as a clear betting favourite, with many pundits of the belief that his gas tank, thudding power and seemingly impregnable chin would be too much for the 39 year-old ‘Big Bang’ to deal with.
However, ‘Big Bang’ proved he had enough to cope with Joyce and then some, with his quick counters causing the Brit all sorts of issues from the off.
Zhang’s pinpoint southpaw left couldn’t miss the stationary Joyce, who was visibly rocked on several occasions throughout the affair, before the damage to his eye became so bad the contest was waved off a minute into round number six.
A rematch clause is available should Joyce opt for it, but he hinted in his post-fight interview that he may swerve an immediate meeting with Zhang.