Joe Joyce has responded to promoter Eddie Hearn’s comments following his loss to Zhilei Zhang.
The 6′ 6″ heavyweight hosted Zhang in London for his WBO Interim title, entering the ring undefeated and favourite with the oddsmakers. It was clear from the first bell that things wouldn’t play out how many had predicted.
Zhang’s southpaw stance baffled Joyce and saw him on the end of a straight left hand that started causing damage early on. He was wobbled – which is a rare sight – and just generally not dealing well with the man in front of him.
By the halfway stage, Joyce’s right away was so swollen and closed-up that the referee, with the assistance of the ringside doctor, took the decision to wave it off.
Speaking to IFL TV, Joyce noted that the criticism after his defeat had arrived quickly from both Hearn and in general.
“I saw him [Hearn] digging me out straightaway as soon as he got the opportunity. People are telling me I should retire – I’ve only got a bruised eye!”
When analysing the fight, the promoter took issue with Joyce’s pre-fight talk about his man, Anthony Joshua, and said that neither Zhilei Zhang nor Joe Joyce was an elite heavyweight.
In response, Joyce said Hearn should put ‘AJ’ in the ring with him.
“How about Zhang fight Joshua and see what happens? … It’s great for Zhang because now he’s being talked about fighting all these guys.”
Another man who was mentioned alongside ‘Big Bang’ was WBC World Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. Joyce officially activating his rematch clause has halted any potential there.
The pair are expected to now enter discussions about when and where the second fight will take place, with Joyce confident he can make the relevant adjustments in camp to avenge his maiden pro defeat.