Zhilei Zhang’s stock is at its highest following two comprehensive victories over Joe Joyce.
After forcing a doctor’s stoppage in the first bout, ‘Big Bang’ left no doubt in the rematch with a stunning third round knockout.
Now 40-years-old and mandatory for a world title shot against Oleksandr Usyk, Zhang is looking to make statement fights no matter what.
Speaking to GFunky Boxing, manager Terry Lane said that his ideal targets were likely tied up.
“I don’t want to divulge too much but it’s possible we could fight in New York or Las Vegas in February. There could be something that happens before that, but again, we’re now at plans B and C now because our Plan A was Usyk or Fury. And now they’re tied up.”
“Just to go right into it, we want Joshua and Wilder. I think those guys are still trying to make that fight. So, if they want to do that, great, whatever. If they want to fight, we’ll fight either of those guys, no problem.”
Should those names – widely regarded as the top four, but Zhang himself now has a case for being in there – all be fighting each other, Lane mentioned both Joseph Parker and Luis Ortiz.
“Guys like Parker or Ortiz, guys like that. Again, it’s kind of a placeholder fight but Zhilei wants big names, he doesn’t want easy fights.
He wants big names, the biggest names possible, to move forward. That’s just him. That’s just his personality. He doesn’t want easy wins, layups. He’s a little bit older, as we all know. He doesn’t want stay-busy fights or things like that.”
Parker is a former world champion who lost to Joyce in 2022. He’s next out on the undercard of Fury versus Francis Ngannou on October 28 against Simon Kean.
Ortiz hasn’t been in the ring since a decision loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in September of last year. At a reported 44, the Cuban heavyweight is undoubtedly nearing his farewell fight. Whether or not that can be made against Zhang remains to be seen.