Joe Joyce, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the super heavyweight division out of Great Britain, now holds a secondary form of the WBO heavyweight title. This Saturday, Joyce fights one of the biggest punchers in the division in Zhilei Zhang, in a 12-round bout from the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Joyce is in the unenviable position of being the fifth heavyweight in a four-heavyweight era, as Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, and Deontay Wilder all have had conversations about fighting each other, and Joyce always seems to be the fighter without a high-profile dancing partner.
Joyce, who has stopped both Daniel Dubois to announce himself at the world-class level and in his last outing picked up a brutal eleventh-round knockout win over former world champion Joseph Parker, appears a bit flummoxed. Zhang coming off the best performance of his career, a hotly debated split-decision loss to Filip Hrgovic, marks a step in the right direction toward the top of the division.
“This is how boxing works,” said Joe Joyce. “I can only beat [the fighters] who have been in front of me.”
Joyce will now look to answer some questions about his durability in his upcoming bout on April 15th, as Zhang is regarded as one of the biggest punchers in the sport.
“I aim to deliver and spectacle and entertainment for the fans,” stated Joe Joyce to iD Boxing. “[Fury] said I'm the second best heavyweight, So, let’s get the number one against number two but [I need to beat] Zhang first.”