- Joyce sets sights on Usyk if he reclaims interim title
- Zhang ended Joyce’s unbeaten run in April
- Zhang looking to face Fury
In a bold declaration, Joe Joyce asserts that his immediate target is Oleksandr Usyk, following his upcoming rematch against Zhilei Zhang at Wembley Arena this Saturday. Zhang dealt Joyce a significant blow by shattering his previously unblemished record with a sixth-round stoppage in April. The stakes are high for both fighters, with Zhang eyeing a potential pursuit of Tyson Fury in the event of a victory.
A triumph against Zhang would not only secure Joyce the WBO Interim strap but also firmly establish him as the mandatory challenger for Usyk’s WBO championship.
“I’m hopeful, once I get the title back, that it will be Usyk next,” Joyce said on Thursday.
“But the way heavyweight boxing is right now, I’m not 100 percent sure.
“Definitely getting the title back will put me in good stead, and it then becomes a more likely scenario to fight Usyk.”
During Thursday’s press conference, China’s Zhang delivered a stark message to his British adversary, declaring, “I’m here to end your career.”
“For the first fight, you gave me the opportunity, but your team made a mistake in choosing me,” Zhang asserted.
He continued, “Your team going for the rematch is a bigger mistake. I’m here to end your career.”
Undeterred, Joyce, who boasted an unblemished record of 15 fights with 14 knockouts before his loss at London’s Copper Box Arena, responded emphatically, “Let’s see it then. Let’s have it.”
The anticipated rematch promises high drama and fierce competition, with both fighters resolutely focused on their respective objectives. With the coveted WBO Interim strap and a shot at Usyk’s championship on the line, the stakes have never been higher. While a victory for Joyce would certainly bolster his chances of facing Usyk, the unpredictable nature of heavyweight boxing leaves room for uncertainty.
The bookies are predicting a fight that could go either way, with Zhang the slight favourite. BoyleSports, at the time of writing, have Zhang at 5/6, Joyce at 20/21 and a draw at 16/1.
Punters should look at previous performances, the records of the two fighters, and the original bout to assess how they think things could go.
Check out the best boxing betting sites in the Uk with Betting.com.