Joe Joyce has officially activated a rematch clause for a second fight with Zhilei Zhang, as per his management company.
As WBO Interim Champion following a stellar win over Joseph Parker, many in the sport expected ‘The Juggernaut’ to sit out and wait for his shot at champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
Instead, he gave fans one of the most exciting heavyweight bouts of the year so far. The April 15 clash at the Copper Box saw Joyce put his title and mandatory status on the line against China’s Zhang.
A slow start from the Londoner allowed ‘Big Bang’ to establish a punishing left hand that landed on the target so often the ringside physician and referee decided to stop it in the seventh due to Joyce’s increasingly swelling eye.
It was announced in the aftermath that he had a rematch available as per the contract, but he didn’t immediately confirm that it would be the chosen route.
Joyce’s management company, S-Jam Boxing, told Boxing Social that the clause has now been activated. Co-founder, Adam Morallee, believes that the loss was an anomaly.
“The first fight was an aberration. Joe wants to put things right straight away. We spoke about an interim fight but Joe was clear – he wants it now. He won’t back away from any challenge”
Chief Operating Officer, Shane Watson, added that it was yet another example of Joyce showing he ‘wants the toughest and best challenges consistently.’
There’s no doubt about that – Zhang is a scary thought for any top-level heavyweight, and Joyce himself admitted that he perhaps doesn’t have enough in-ring experience against southpaw operators.
Should his goal of becoming world champion ever be realised, he’ll need the practice, with both Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk being handy in that stance.
Talks should now begin for the second fight, with a date and venue to be discussed. As things stand, it will be the next contest for both men, seemingly putting any rumours of Zhang getting a shot at Fury’s WBC strap to bed for now. Joyce and Fury are both under Queensberry’s promotional banner.