Joe Joyce has released a statement following his loss to China’s Zhilei Zhang.
Joyce lost his WBO Interim title, mandatory position for a shot at Oleksandr Usyk and undefeated record all by the left hand of ‘Big Bang’ Zhang.
The fight, in front of a packed Copper Box Arena in London, went six rounds before referee Howard Foster, with the help of the ringside doctor, waved it off.
Joyce’s eye was bulbous after taking stiff shots from Zhang all night – the southpaw style apparently baffling him and his old tactic of walking through shots finally failing. It was a TKO for 39-year-old Zhang, who screamed ‘Chinese power’ down the camera lens.
After it was confirmed that Joyce hadn’t suffered any breaks or fractures – the result of a good stoppage – he took to social media to address people who were ‘writing him off.’
“Before you all [write] me off, I’m okay, just got a bruised eye. I think I’ll be ok, as fights go, I’m in good health. Not a great performance however, but I’ll go back to the drawing board and have to improve.
Zhang was the better fight on the night, but I still think I can beat him even though he’s a strong contender.”
— Joe Joyce (@JoeJoyceBoxing) April 17, 2023
It was confirmed quickly after the bout that there was a rematch clause in the Brit’s favour, and that his promoter, Queensberry, had options on Zhang’s next moves even if that wasn’t a second bout.
Joyce seemed tentative in the ring, suggesting he may want to take a fight in between. It’s a conundrum that has split opinions amongst fans and pundits, and a decision that will seriously affect the rest of his heavyweight campaign.