British heavyweight Joe Joyce was sensationally knocked out within the third spherical by Zhilei Zhang in London, leaving his dream of securing a world-title shot – and maybe his profession – in tatters.
Joyce as soon as once more struggled towards the facility of ‘Massive Bang’ Zhang earlier than a thunderous counter proper hook floored the Londoner at Wembley’s OVO Area.
The 38-year-old admirably rose to his ft on the rely of 10 because the referee waved off the competition. Joyce seemed surprised. Moments later, he sat on his stool receiving oxygen.
The outcome comes 5 months after 40-year-old Zhang’s shock sixth-round stoppage win over the beforehand undefeated Joyce.
The Chinese language boxer retains the WBO ‘interim’ title and necessary challenger standing to unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
“Like I mentioned earlier than the battle, it may finish earlier than the primary one,” Zhang mentioned on TNT Sports activities.
“Joe, I like him, I respect him and I’ll let everybody witness Chinese language energy once more.”
A distraught Joyce left the ring with out conducting a post-fight interview, as a jubilant Zhang embraced his staff.
Joyce has now misplaced twice in 17 skilled outings, whereas Zhang extends his report to 25 wins, with one defeat and one draw.
Zhang makes shorter work of Joyce in rematch
A must-win battle to maintain his world-title hopes alive led to heartbreak for Joyce, as soon as once more in brutal trend.
As challenger, Joyce walked to the ring first. His music started with Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ and shortly changed into a vastly totally different vibe – a rap tune with the refrain “You do not need to conflict with large Juggernaut”.
With pockets of travelling followers waving China flags scattered across the enviornment, Zhang made his entrance. The 2008 Olympic silver medallist turned an excellent larger star in his residence nation after beating Joyce first time round.
April’s bout at London’s Copper Field Area was a beatdown from Zhang, with Joyce’s proper eye swollen shut when the referee halted the competition.
However after all of the build-up to Saturday’s rematch, it was a quiet opener with neither man throwing something of notice.
The battle got here alive within the second. Zhang landed a one-two mixture earlier than unleashing a ferocious straight left which pierced via Joyce’s guard.
It was very a lot a case of repeat, reasonably than revenge. Similar to the primary battle, every time ‘Massive Bang’ landed, Joyce seemed staggered, harm and uncomfortable.
Having weighed 22lbs lighter than Zhang within the first battle, Joyce got here in at a career-heaviest 20st 1lb for rematch, however the added weight made no distinction.
Joyce had began the third spherical effectively, with good footwork and motion. However a terrific counter proper hook from Zhang, sweetly arrange by a jab, ended proceedings.
The house fighter was surprised, trying helplessly at his staff. He as soon as once more got here unstuck towards the hard-hitting southpaw, and seemed a shadow of the fighter who knocked out 14 of his first 15 opponents.
‘Would you like me to close Tyson Fury up?’
After profitable silver at Tokyo 2020, Olympian Joyce was fast-tracked within the paid ranks on a mission to win a world-title in tremendous fast time.
However with age not on his facet nor a transparent path again to necessary challenger standing, hopes of changing into world champion at the moment are fading.
“It is very disappointing,” Queensberry promoter Frank Warren mentioned. “First couple of rounds he obtained it proper and he was transferring left.
“Then he went toe-to-toe and obtained caught. If he continued to do what he was doing previous 5 or 6 rounds then it might have been fascinating. He obtained caught with a very good shot.”
Zhang is now in prime place to battle Usyk, or whoever the champion is when the WBO necessary is named.
However along with his shot unlikely to occur till center of subsequent yr on the earliest, he has now set his sights on the WBC champion.
“I need to ask the viewers a query. Do you need to see me shut Tyson Fury up?”, Zhang mentioned.