Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang will rematch on September 23 at the OVO Arena, Wembley – but there could be another show in town according to Eddie Hearn.
The two heavyweights battled it out for Joyce’s WBO Interim title and mandatory position back in April, with Zhang’s accurate work resulting in the first loss of Joyce’s professional career.
He activated his rematch clause a month later, and the second fight has now been made official for September. Joyce himself has admitted that it’s make or break for his world title hopes.
As intriguing as that is, boxing fans may be forced to choose between that show and the return of Conor Benn. Speaking to Boxing Social, Hearn confirmed they were still looking at that same date, and that he had told Joyce’s promoter as much.
“Yes it is. I told George Warren before their announcement that September 23 is Benn-Eubank. And he was told that Eubank’s fighting Liam Smith on September 2nd, which, we’ll see… but that’s our date.”
There’s a stark difference between the events as it stands, namely one is official and the other seems, to many, unrealistic.
Benn is still in the throes of a doping scandal, but his team are confident that a pending verdict from the UK Anti-Doping Agency will be positive enough that he can go straight into a stadium fight with Chris Eubank Jr – the very same bout that was cancelled last October when the failed test news broke.
Should that be the case, it will be an acid test for the 26-year-old’s popularity following a tumultuous period in his career.
Going up against a solid heavyweight match-up – albeit the second instalment of it this year – that’s guaranteed to deliver action will show Benn’s pulling power, and just how much it has been affected by the scandal, as well as the fact Eubank will be coming off a knockout loss.
More news is expected soon, first regarding the UKAD case and then fight news. Hearn has previously said they have eyes on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or Wembley – the latter surely ruled out now – but could also consider Abu Dhabi.
Eubank is yet to confirm that he won’t be pursuing a rematch with Liam Smith – a fight he also triggered a rematch clause for recently.