Legendary boxing trainer turned analyst, Teddy Atlas, has given his assessment of Joe Joyce’s first career defeat against Zhilei Zhang.
Joyce went into the fight against Zhang as a heavy favourite but never looked comfortable against the giant southpaw. From the opening bell, Zhang’s lead hand seemed unable to miss the target, causing swelling to the right eye of Joyce, eventually giving the ringside doctor no option but to call the fight.
With victory, the Chinese heavyweight took Joyce’s WBO interim title and his place in line for a full world title shot.
Speaking on his podcast ‘The Fight’ Atlas, who’s worked with the likes of Mike Tyson and Alexander Povetkin, believes Joyce simply ‘got old’ that night.
“He was always what he is – he’s a slow as an ice wagon going uphill.
Everyone has a different time clock as to when they get old. Fighters get old in a different way. They get old partly because of how many punches they’ve taken, not just only chronologically, not just the year they were born.
I think he got old. He’s that slow guy, he’s easy to hit, he’s a good puncher and he was always relentless – he wasn’t that relentless, he was even slower than usual. I just felt and I’m taking nothing away from Zhang, I just felt he got old.
Look at George Foreman, he didn’t get old, he didn’t get old like other people get old, he won a world title when he was 45.
Joyce, for all his strengths, he look like he got old.”
Joyce has a rematch clause but hasn’t made any official statement as to whether he’ll activate it next.
Zhang, on the other hand, has been linked to a fight against current WBC champion Tyson Fury, calling out ‘The Gypsy King’ for a fight in is homeland of China.