Eddie Hearn insists the priority for his heavyweight star Anthony Joshua is still a fight with Deontay Wilder. However, if this fight cannot get over the line, Hearn says AJ, who wants “the biggest possible fights,” could fight Zhilei Zhang next instead, possibly in China.
Speaking with various members of the media after the presser for Saturday night’s IBF cruiserweight title fight showdown between defending champ Jai Opetaia and Jordan Thompson, Hearn said the win Zhang scored over Joe Joyce this past Saturday evening, made Zhang “look like Sonny Liston.” Hearn, whenever he’s asked about the possibility of Joshua fighting Zhang, does seem to come across as someone who is less than impressed with the big southpaw. This possibility of a fight, Hearn insists, is not a problem for Joshua.
“Joe Joyce made Zhang look like Sonny Liston, a southpaw Sonny Liston, and I think it’s gonna be interesting to see what he does next,” Hearn said. “100 percent [we are] open to that fight [Zhang Vs. Joshua]. If there’s money for that fight, we’ll definitely look at it. AJ beat him in the amateurs. I mean, do you really think Anthony Joshua is worried about Zhilei Zhang?”
I don’t know about you, but I’d for sure like to see Joshua step up and face Zhang next if he cannot get the Wilder fight (and, from fighting Jermain Franklin and Robert Helenius, two guys against whom AJ did not look confident at all, a fight with Zhang would be a step up for the former two-time heavyweight champ).
Zhang, who Hearn says is “slow,” might not be the fastest guy out there, agreed, but “Big Bang” is, some would argue, deceptively quick with his hands. And we all know Zhang packs a helluva wallop. And Zhang has shown a good chin. Zhang really will take some shifting, some chopping down. And is the current version of Joshua, the so-called gun-shy version, the man for the job? I don’t think so, and neither do quite a few other fans.
Again, if we don’t get Joshua-Wilder, and if Zhang cannot get a massive fight with a Tyson Fury, an Oleksandr Usyk, or even Wilder himself, then why not Zhang Vs. Joshua, in China at The Bird’s Nest? If this one did happen, I’d be willing to place a few quid on a “Big Bang” win.
What say you guys?