Just days out from his own world title defense against Daniel Dubois, unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk has been asked how he sees the rematch between former Dubois opponent, Joe Joyce, and Zhilei Zhang going in September.
Back in April, China’s ‘Big Bang’ Zhang secured a sixth-round TKO victory over Joyce to knock back the Brit’s world title hopes. Southpaw Zhang controlled the fight from the off with a stiff jab and plenty of solid left hands. An injury to Joyce’s eye brought about the end as well as inflicting him with the first defeat of his professional career.
Joyce, who lost to Olympic gold medalist Usyk in the amateurs, soon triggered his rematch clause and the fight is set for September 23 at Wembley Arena.
Speaking to Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions on YouTube, the Ukrainian was asked for his views on the upcoming fight – and is favouring Zhang to get his hand raised again unless Joyce can mix up his style.
“If Joe Joyce doesn’t change anything in his style, the result will be the same in the rematch.”
He was then asked if that was a surprise.
“No, probably from the second round, I could see Joe wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t adjust to deal with Zhang.”
Usyk could soon be set to face the winner, with the IBF mandatory position on the line when they enter the ring. It’s hard to see a clear path back to the titles for ‘The Juggernaut” if he were to suffer back-to-back defeats to Zhang.
Usyk of course has his own fight to focus on this weekend in Wroclaw, Poland, against 25-year-old challenger Dubois, whom many believe to be an underdog, but one with a huge punch.