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Joe Joyce’s ‘Juggernaut’ Crashes Into The Left Hand Of Zhilei Zhang

By: Sean Crose

The 15-0 Joe Joyce was expected to keep his juggernaut of a career cruising along Saturday when he battled fellow heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang in front of a live London crowd. The scheduled 12 rounder, however, didn’t get past the 6th; for the hard hitting, 25-1-1 Zhang landed so many hard lefts on Joyce that the fight had to be stopped. It was a tough loss for Joyce, to be sure, but perhaps one he could learn from. As for Zhang, the New Jersey based fighter – by way of China – is now one of the major players in the heavyweight division

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Zhang started the festivities off by sticking out his southpaw jab right away in the first. Zhang was also able to fire and land well during the opening chapter. Joyce got rocked hard in the second, and wobbled from the blow. Strangely enough, Joyce’s own shots looked lethargic. On top of that, he was an easy target for Zhang, showing very little movement. With that being said, Joyce had a much better third. Zhang was certainly able to have his moments, but Joyce’s activity and punch output had improved considerably from the two previous rounds.

Joyce threw and landed quickly and well in the fourth – but it was the straight left of Zhang that told the tale of the round. Joyce’s face was looking beaten up. With that being said, Joyce came back strong in the fifth. The issue was that he still was getting caught by that left of Zhang’s. He needed to play Jack Dempsey to Zhang’s Jess Willard if he wanted to win the fight. At the beginning of the sixth, the ring doctor took a look at Joyce’s face. The fight was allowed to continue for the time being. Shang was able to land hard again about midround, and the doctor was called back in. A moment or two later, the fight was stopped.

“I’m very excited and happy today,” Zhang told iFL TV after the fight. “Since I hit him with the first couple of shots in the first round I knew he couldn’t make it.” With that being said, Zhang made it clear he’s now gunning for a world title. Naturally the name of Tyson Fury was brought up.” He doesn’t have that chin,” Zhang said of WBC and lineal heavyweight champion Fury. “He will go down.” Fury, of course, may have something to say about that.

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