Joe Joyce enters the fight of his life this week against Zhilei Zhang, just five months on from the first defeat of his professional career.
Zhang seemingly couldn’t miss from his southpaw stance back in April, and his sharp, punishing work saw Joyce’s eye swell to the point that the referee had no choice but to wave it off.
With the loss, Joyce’s aura of indestructibility took a huge hit, and he lost his mandatory position for a shot at unified world champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
He has been praised for activating the rematch clause, and George Groves told Bitcoin Casinos that it was a chance to change up his tactics.
“I think Joyce can get revenge over Zhang, he was just painfully slow last time. He’s never been the quickest fighter, I’m not sure what training he was doing for the first fight, but he was frighteningly slow and ridiculously easy to hit. Zhang is not bad, he’s been around a long time and Hrgovic squeezed past him.
“He’s a good fighter Zhang, but I think Joyce is a better fighter, he has a tenacious work rate and he’s a big strong dude – he’s the juggernaut. But he can’t be so slow this time – he’s always going to eat punches – but if you’re going to be that slow you’re going to eat all of the punches and you don’t need to be that dude. I’m not sure whether he thought he was invincible or that he couldn’t be knocked out. But I think a sharper Joyce beats Zhang.”
The former super-middleweight champ turned pundit and podcaster is backing the Brit to get revenge.
“Rematches are fascinating because you’ve had the drama of the first fight and now you’ve got to go back to the well and do the camp again for the same dude and you’re wondering “are they going to be the same again or different or better?” It’s an interesting one, but I’m picking Joyce to get revenge over Zhang in this one. He’s a better fighter and I think he will be better this time around.”