Zhilei Zhang brands Fury as a 'Disgrace' following decision to face Ngannou in Saudi Arabia

Zhilei Zhang has described Tyson Fury’s decision to face Francis Ngannou in a non-title fight in Saudi Arabia and branded the WBC heavyweight world champion a “Disgrace.”

Zhang currently holds the number position in the WBO world heavyweight ratings following his upset yet convincing victory against Joe Joyce in April of this year. Zhang would claim a stoppage victory over the Olympic silver medalist inside six rounds after Joyce sustained damage to the eye during the contest. The fight was ultimately waved off by the ringside doctor, however, Joyce, for significant periods of the contest, was second best in comparison to Zhang, who produced a career-best showing.

Victory would see Zhang claim the WBO interim heavyweight title and position the Chinese heavyweight as the number one contender within the WBO ranking system. Zhang would be confirmed as the mandatory challenger for unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk if and when the WBO calls for the mandatory.

However, Zhang had been considered as a possible opponent by Tyson Fury as the current WBC world champion struggled to secure himself an opponent to face following his dominant victory over Dereck Chisora in December. Negotiations with Usyk & Anthony Joshua failed to come to fruition for Fury in securing a fight date which had put Zhang on the shortlist to face Fury. Joe Joyce, however, decided to activate an immediate rematch clause in his original bout agreement with Zhang, consequently dashing the prospect of Zhang challenging for the WBC world heavyweight champion.

Zhang has hit out at Fury for deciding to face former UFC world heavyweight world champion Francis Ngannou instead of facing a top 15 rated fighter within the WBC ranks and keeping the WBC world heavyweight world title in circulation and contested.

Speaking to the publication Standard Sport, Zhang did not mince his world regarding Fury’s decision to take his next fight to Saudi Arabia and the opposition he would face in the ring in October.

“When you look at Tyson Fury – he avoided [Anthony] Joshua, he avoided [Oleksandr] Usyk. He chose to fight somebody who had never been in the ring before.

“[Francis Ngannou] is a novice, he’s just turning pro. Yes, he’s a UFC champion, and I have respect for him, but when it comes to the ring, it’s a different story. So Tyson Fury, I think, is a disgrace to the sport of boxing. Shame on him.”