Can Zhilei Zhang Beat Oleksandr Usyk?

By James Slater - 09/25/2023 - Comments

Warren: “If Zhang Catches Usyk With One Of Those Shots, He’ll Hurt Him”

Frank Warren may have seen two of his top heavyweight fighters lose recently, with Daniel Dubois losing to Oleksandr Usyk, and with Joe Joyce losing, in simply devastating fashion, to Zhilei Zhnag on Saturday night, but all is not lost, as the promoter has options on the man who defeated Joyce. Zhilei Zhang, a superstar in China, and also one of the most high-profile, interesting and exciting heavyweights out there today regardless of where they are from, has seemingly got a number of big-fight options courtesy of his highlight reel KO of Joyce.

And Warren, like many of us, wants to see Zhang fight three-belt heavyweight ruler Oleksandr Usyk, while there is also the possibility that “Big Bang” could fight Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua (Eddie Hearn said he would have “no problem” talking about making that fight).

Speaking once again with IFL TV, Warren spoke about what he thinks would happen if Zhang fought WBA/IBF/WBO champ Usyk.

“It’s been tough [with Daniel Dubois and now Joyce losing], but Zhang’s with us, he’s promoted by Queensbury, he’s the WBO interim champion, and he’ll be fighting the [full] WBO champion next year, because it’ll be ordered. And he’s with us. Listen, [if] he catches Usyk with one of those shots, he’ll hurt him, won’t he? It’s two southpaws, as well, so that’ll be interesting. He’s not a boy, he knows what Usyk’s weaknesses are. I think Zhang’s in the top-four [best heavyweights now]. I think he gives anybody problems. Look at the Hrgovic fight, I felt he [Zhang] won that fight. He’s no slouch and he showed what power he has with the [Joyce] win. He showed his boxing ability in the first fight, and he showed his power in this fight.”

So, how good is Zhang? The 40 year old may not be the fastest guy in the world, but it would be a mistake for any fighter to think Zhang is slow. Deceptive, packed with power and, a genuine man-mountain who really will take some chopping down, Zhang has good amateur experience, he seems to be getting better with age, and Zhang lives the life of a fighter outside of the ring. Or, looking at things another way, did Zhang simply have Joyce’s number? Did Zhang’s two big wins over “The Juggernaut” flatter to deceive? Some people, Hearn for one, says Zhang IS slow, that he is “dangerous” but beatable by the elite, AJ included. Maybe. But it’s fascinating, the idea of Zhang, a man who was not really on the lips of fans outside of China a year or so ago, going in with Usyk, with Fury, with Joshua.

For his part, Zhang says he would beat Fury with “Chinese speed and power,” and that Usyk is a “small cruiserweight” he would have no problem knocking out. Zhang has also expressed interest in a rematch with AJ (Joshua having beaten Zhang in the Olympics).

Zhang is already a great story, a great success story, and his global fanbase is growing and growing. Can Zhang become world champion? Can Zhang beat the top dogs of the division? Don’t you want to find out! As Warren says, Zhang gives “anybody problems.”

Zhang-Fury – who wins?

Zhang-Usyk – who wins?

Zhang-Joshua – who wins?

And one other simply fascinating fight that could perhaps happen, Zhang-Deontay Wilder – who wins?

YouTube video

Last Updated on 09/25/2023