Joe Joyce activates rematch clause to fight Zhilei Zhang

May 10, 2023 10:21 am

Joe Joyce is eager to battle it out against Zhilei Zhang and in that pursuit, he has activated a rematch clause for a fight. However, the only disappointing aspect in this for the fans is that there is no guarantee of their fight taking place. Joyce’s manager Adam Morallee informed Mike Coppinger about them activating the rematch clause for the Zhang match. 

Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs) and his team may be going for a step-aside deal, allowing Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) to go ahead with his plans to face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in July. If Joyce doesn’t force the rematch, he’d be doing Fury a real solid because Zhang has the power, size & speed to knock him out and ruin his big-money undisputed championship fight with IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in December in Saudi Arabia.

Zhang would be a difficult match-up for Fury. Fury isn’t exactly the hardest fighter to hit, and punch resistance isn’t what it needs to be for him to absorb Zhang’s left hands all night. It’s not entirely unambiguous how much money the 37-year-old Joyce will want to step aside, but if Zhang calls his bluff and chooses not to indulge him, it will put ‘The Juggernaut in a tough spot where his career could be finished. 

The left-handed boxer showed last April that he was extremely fast, powerful, and technically skilled for the not-so-quick and tall Joyce. The fight had to be stopped after six rounds because Joyce’s right eye had swollen shut. Zhang was beating the living daylights out of Joyce long before his eye began to swell up, and it was evident that Joe had no defense for his lead left hand. 

Not just that, though. Zhang was battering Joyce with combinations as well. “Joe Joyce has exercised the rematch clause for a return bout with Zhilei Zhang, Joyce’s manager, Adam Morallee,” said Mike Coppinger at ESPN. “Joyce had the right to call for the rematch in either of the next two fights but has chosen to have the fight now,” Morallee said. 

“I think he would have won the first fight had it continued and the eye hadn’t gone. “I think he would have swarmed him in the fight’s second half. That was always going to be a fight of two halves, and unfortunately, he got injured in the first half.” Follow Nextbet Sports for more boxing news and good betting odds. 

“This is the only fight we’re looking at,” Morallee said. “Get him back in his mandatory position and go for [the title shot].” It’ll be interesting if Joyce goes ahead and takes the rematch with Zhang and gets knocked out again. If that happens, Joyce could wind up on skidrow, wishing he’d never heard of Zhang.”