Joe Joyce’s once-promising is in bad shape after his devastating third round knockout loss to WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) tonight in London.
Joyce (15-2, 14 KOs) was crushed by a right hook from Zhang in the third round, and the ending put his career on skidrow.
The troubling thing about the loss was Joyce was never competitive at any point in the fight before Zhang starched him. Joyce was hurt in the second round and looked shaken in the first as well.
After the fight, Joyce, not surprisingly, sounded depressed, not knowing where to go. He said a rematch with Daniel Dubois, but that would obviously be a move backward.
At this point, Joyce doesn’t have many options, as he’s not going to be getting headliner gigs without a fight against a notable heavyweight.
“It was a devastating, global, viral highlight reel knockout. A left hand, right hook, but Joe Joyce tried to make the adjustment. Zhilei Zhang had faster hand speed,” said Gareth A. Davies to Boxing King Media.
“He applied it. He was more patient this time and didn’t take him long. The last time was a demolition. This time was like devastation, and maybe it was devastation for Joe Joyce’s career. At this point, it’s hard to see where he goes. Both these guys needed to win the fight to propel themselves.
“Zhang’s stock has risen enormously as it has for these last two fights this year in the UK, both against Joe Joyce. What Zhang decided to do this time was, ‘I’ll watch what Joe adjustments he makes. I’m comfortable enough in my own skin and in my own IQ to dance with him.’
“In the second round, he started peppering him. He didn’t pepper him. He hit him with big shots this time. He did because last time, he was scoring. This time he said, ‘No, I’m going to time you. I’ve got the confidence to do that.’
“He really loaded up with that left hand. Joe was shaking and hurt in the second round for me. Ismael Salas in his [Joyce] corner, said you’ve got to get the left and the right going.
“It opened him up, and there we go. Zhang knocked him out. Devastating end, negatively for Joe Joyce but for Zhang that really propels him into the heavyweight division into the top four or five, no question about it. a lot of people are talking about where Joe goes from here.
“He will reassess he may well come back, but it’s it’s how you route map where he goes,” said Gareth about Joyce. “He’s been a high-level world-class headliner, so he’s not going to come back for a third of a payday. Who do you put him in against?
“Do you put him in against Daniel Dubois, who is now who’s coming off of a loss as well? They’re both with the same promoter. That’s a fight that might work.
“Maybe that’s the fight that works, but you just wonder how he’s going to feel at 38 coming up, whether he wants to stay and have another big fight, whether that ambition is dented.
“How he recovers from it all, how he’s feeling mentally and psychologically and emotionally even after that. It’s not for us to decide, but when you’re around it for a long time and you see [the change]. He used to be able to walk through punches.
“So maybe you could only go to the cash register so many times to take out the cash, and it empties in the end. He got beaten tonight by a guy with very heavy hands, a natural 20-stone man, a huge man, Zhang, with faster hands, who exposed the frailties of Joe’s style, which other people haven’t been able to do.
“They’ve either hadn’t had enough power, or Joe’s come through them, and it cost him. He tried to make the adjustments, but Zhang actually made better adjustments on the night.
“He’s up there. You could easily pick him [Zhang] to defeat Anthony Joshua. A hard night for Anthony Joshua. He’s definitely number five in the world. if you say Joshua, Wilder, Fury, and Usyk are above him. He’s a match for any of them. He might he might be in the, ‘No one wants me Club right now.’
“Deontay Wilder is a good option for him. That’s a tough fight for him. That’s a tough fight for Wilder as well. It’s a big fight, that’s a money-making fight, but Zhang and his team are with Frank Warren and Queensberry, and he’s promoted by them. He’s got to deal with them. I think he’ll be fighting Saudi Arabia very soon,” said Gareth.