Zhilei Zhang will rematch Joe Joyce this September in London, as per reports.
The two heavyweights fought six rounds in April, with underdog Zhang upsetting the odds and forcing the referee to stop the contest in his favour.
Joyce had struggled since the first bell with ‘Big Bang’s southpaw stance and stiff power, and by the halfway stage his eye was swollen to the point of it being dangerous for him to continue.
After apparently considering his options, Joyce activated his contractual rematch clause to run it back with Zhang straightaway – a brave move given how things played out on April 1.
Although there has been no official announcement as of writing, the pair are set to fight on September 2 at London’s OVO Arena, Wembley.
Originally reported by ESPN, Zhang has now confirmed the date and venue to Boxing Scene. He will put the WBO Interim Heavyweight title back on the line, this time with Joyce the challenger rather than champion.
What comes with it is far more important – a mandatory shot at the world title sooner rather than later. Currently held by Oleksandr Usyk, who has tentative undisputed plans with Tyson Fury, it will be into next year before the winner of this bout gets the chance to fight for it.
For now, Joyce will be focused on righting the wrong and reviving a career that was going full throttle before being derailed with this first loss. There will be a close eye on weight and appropriate southpaw sparring in camp – two things many analysts feel let the Brit down in the first fight.
Zhang – now 40-years-old – will be looking to break Joyce’s heart in his hometown once more before making a push for a championship in what will likely be the final chapter of his career.