Promoter Frank Warren has urged his heavyweight promotional charge, Joe Joyce, to seriously consider retirement following back-to-back defeats to Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang.
In April and last weekend at London’s OVO arena inside three rounds, Joyce (15-2, 14KO's) suffered back-to-back stoppage defeats to his Chinese adversary. Joyce had been attempting to recapture his mandatory position within the WBO rating system and challenge current unified world heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk. Joyce would suffer orginal defeat to Zhang (26-1-1, 21KO's) at the CopperBox Arena, London, being pulled out on doctor's advice due to extensive damge to his right eye caused by blows from southpaw Zhang.
Warren, post-fight, did not explicitly ask the 38-year-old Joyce to consider retirement, believing that he could have another attempt at title contention, but did ask the Olympic silver medalist to think about his long-term future.
“Fighters lose and come back,” Warren said. “I’ve seen that on many occasions. He’s 38, but he’s not got a lot of miles on the clock as far as being a pro boxer is concerned. It was his 16th or 17th fight. We’ll see. It’s up to him.
“He seriously needs to consider it (retirement) because it’s not going to be an easy journey back. There are some good fights out there, but none of those fights are easy.”
Warren complimented Joyce’s ability, in his opinion, to neutralise Zhang’s offense for the opening two rounds of the contest till that went west in the third round. The referee would count out Joyce, Steve Gray, shortly after the bell rang to call an end to the third session of a scheduled twelve rounds. Ultimately, Zhang landed with a right hook, which sent Joyce to the canvas forward facing and, despite rising to his feet, was counted out by referee Gray.
“He was doing alright up to the first two rounds,” Warren continued. “He was negating the southpaw style of Zhang, but unfortunately [he had a] lapse of concentration, and things moved the other way. He had a little bit of an exchange and got caught with a world-class punch. It was a world-class knockout.”