Fans saw a big upset last night in London, as the world saw “Chinese Power” the way Zhilei Zhang told us we would. In beating Joe Joyce, Zhang – a 10:1 underdog in some places – ruined an unbeaten record and an expected world title shot. 39 year old Zhang is the new WBO interim champ and it will be “Big Bang” who now calls for a world title shot.
But going into last night’s fight, there was a rematch clause in place and the derailed “Juggernaut” fully intends to activate it. However, Joyce, his right eye badly swollen, says he may take an interim fight before going back in there with southpaw Zhang. Last night’s fight, one Joyce knew would be tough, turned out to be all kinds of wrong for him. Zhang, who improved to 25-1-1(20) cracked Joyce numerous times, wobbling him. Joyce’s famed granite chin saved him from an outright knockout last night, no doubt.
Joyce said after losing for the first time that he is very disappointed but that his journey “will continue.”
“We’re going to discuss it,” Joyce said to BBC Sport on the subject of his next move. “I could have one (fight) in between (the rematch with Zhang). I’m just going to decide. I’m going to have some time off and reflect and watch the tape and see where I went wrong. I’ve had my loss but I’ll be back. The journey will continue. I can still see through (the eye), I think it’s just bruised. It’s unfortunate but I’ll be back. I thought I was doing well in there. I couldn’t get away from his straight left. He kept on nailing me in the eye and it swelled up my eye.”
Some fans might be somewhat alarmed to hear Joyce, now 15-1(14) say he thought he was “doing well” in last night’s fight. To his critics, Joyce looked slow, maybe slower than usual, and he was so terribly easy to hit. Zhang is no speedster himself and he too was lumbering last night. This, though, is what fans expected – a slow-mo slugfest between two huge guys who both go forward and rumble.
But what was seen going in as another win for Joyce, albeit a tough one he would have to earn, instead turned out to be a largely one-sided win for “Big Bang” and his celebrated “Chinese Power.”
It’s tough to see 37 year old Joyce being able to make the necessary quick adjustments he needs to make to be able to defeat Zhang later this year or even early next year.
What do you guys think – has “The Juggernaut” been knocked off the main road for keeps?