Joe Joyce will move into an immediate rematch with Zhilei Zhang in an attempt to avenge his first career defeat.
That durable Brit came unstuck against the Chinese southpaw in April, taking too many hard shots to an ever-swelling eye that ultimately forced the referee to wave it off.
With that loss, his WBO Interim belt and mandatory position for the world title went to Zhang, and he has one chance to win it straight back.
‘Big Bang’ landed that first fight after a loss to Filip Hrgovic – one many felt he did enough to win – and entered the ring as an underdog.
Hrgovic discussed the first fight between the pair, admitting that he predicted ‘The Juggernaut’ would win despite knowing fine well the danger Zhang poses.
“I thought Zhang would give him problems of course. I was even a little bit surprised that he took that fight because he was mandatory challenger and he was in line for a big fight.”
“Zhang is southpaw, he’s faster, but I thought Joyce’s conditioning and pace would be a factor that he will outwork and stop him in the later rounds.
But Zhang just hit him so many times, and rocked him so many times in the first few rounds. He made do much damage that [Joyce] couldn’t recover.”
And for the rematch, he sees it going the same way if both men turn up 100%.
“This rematch will be much tougher for Joyce because when you see the first fight you just don’t see the way how he can beat him, because he’s very slow, he don’t move his head, he receive a lot of punches.
And the fact is, Zhang from his southpaw stance neutralised his jab. Joyce’s best weapon is his jab. Against southpaw, it’s not so dangerous. It’s a very hard task for Joyce to beat him.
Only way is if Zhang don’t come in good shape. If he relaxes. Because the fact is Zhang is getting tired after six, seven round, and if he comes relaxed and not in good shape I think Joyce can beat him.
But, like I said, Zhang is faster and a more accurate puncher, and it will be a hard task for Joyce.”