Cherish this momentous occasion while it lasts! Don’t waste this opportunity.
This boxing match offers true even betting odds between both boxers.
Add it’s a rematch from a fight just a few months ago.
WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang (25-2-1, 20 KOs) returns to Wembley Arena this Saturday on ESPN+ (the main card starts at 2:30 p.m. ET). This matchup is a title defense for Zhilei’s WBO interim heavyweight championship title.
These heavy hitters, who combine for 34 knockout victories across their 40 career wins, first squared off on April 15 when Joyce entered as a -1000 favorite, which seemed ridiculous at the time; I mentioned at that time how worth a bet on Zhang could be.
Zhang controlled and injured Joyce’s eye in Round 6, forcing a stoppage. Joyce appeared disadvantaged throughout their encounter.
Zhang turned professional at 31 in 2014 after building up an impressive amateur record similar to Joyce’s: an Olympic silver medal in 2008, gold at both the 2010 Asian Games and 2009 Asian Championships and bronze at the IBA World Championships – all at super heavyweight weight class.
There is an uncanny similarity between these two ageing rising stars.
Zhang suffered an unexpected setback. In February 2021, he knocked down Jerry Forrest three times but was deducted a point for holding late before ultimately fighting to a draw against a four-loss opponent.
Zhang would later reveal he had been fighting not just Forrest but anemia, kidney failure and liver damage before that fight. Nine months after returning, he finally won his rematch against Forrest.
Zhang made waves when he faced Filip Hrgovic as the co-main event of the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua II fight, losing by unanimous decision but receiving another opportunity against Joyce because he was robbed in the Hrgovic fight.
Joyce achieved perhaps his most significant victory last September when he knocked out Joseph Parker – former world heavyweight champion and interim WBO titleholder – in 11 rounds to earn it.
Joyce also defeated Daniel Dubois for the British, Commonwealth, European, WBC Silver and WBO International heavyweight titles in November 2020 in an unbeaten-vs-unbeaten bout for these titles.
Both fighters are strong and have power and precision that is unrivaled, capable of finishing opponents with either hand, have conditioning issues and past health concerns that could rear their ugly heads at any moment. I would give Zhang the edge in speed and defense due to how the fight one went down.
I think that Joyce will be better prepared for the rematch, and I see him grinding out a tough victory by a 12-round majority decision.
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