The big punching heavyweight Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs) pulled off a major upset, defeating interim WBO heavyweight champion Joe Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs) by a sixth-round TKO on Saturday night to ruin his world-title hopes at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.
The contest was halted at the advice of the ringside doctor in the sixth round because Joyce’s right eye was completely closed, and he couldn’t see out of it.
It was too risky for the fight to be allowed to continue because Joyce was getting nailed repeatedly by left hands from the southpaw Zhang, and his chances of making it the distance were slim & none.
Zhang, 6’6″, staggered Joyce in round two with a hard left to the head that send ‘The Juggernaut’ to the ropes, where he took some big shots from the powerful two-time Olympian before the round ended.
Tonight’s undercard results:
Former IBF/WBO female super featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer (18-1, 5 KOs) outworked a tough Lucy Wildheart (10-2,4 KOs), winning a 10-round unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC interim World lightweight title.
The judges’ scores:
Mayer, 32, walked into a lot of right hands from Wildheart throughout the contests, but she took them well and controlled the championship round with her high punch output.
Heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma (3-0, 2 KOs) put in a workmanlike performance, beating the always-tough Kostiantyne Dovbyshchenko (9-13-1, 6 KOs) by a six-round points decision. The score was 60-54.
Itauma hit the 31-year-old Dovbyshchenko at will with monstrous shots to the head and body through the first four rounds. The punches had little effect on Dovbyshchenko, as he kept coming forward, pressuring the 18-year-old Itauma and tagging him occasionally.
Itauma seemed to tire out after round four, and he coasted in the final two rounds, landing nice uppercuts and body shots, but not enough to bother the veteran Dovbyshchenko.
In a beautiful punching display, Commonwealth & WBC International Silver lightweight champion Sam Noakes (11-0, 11 KOs) stopped Karthik Sarthis Kumar (10-1, 4 KOs) in the second round.
Noakes, a guy with one-punch power, dropped Kumar twice in the fight, once in the first round and a final time in round two. The referee John Latham stopped the contest after Noakes poleaxed Kumar with a brutal right hand to the head. The fight was stopped at 1:17 of round two.
British middleweight champion Denzel Bentley (18-2-1, 15 KOs) blasted out Kieran Smith (18-2, 7 KOs) in a lightning-fast first-round knockout. Bentley stormed after Smith from the opening bell, nailing him with power shots.
Bentley hurt Smith with a left hook to the head, causing him to retreat to the ropes. From there, Bently unloaded with several hard shots, sending him to the canvas in a heap. The referee Mark Lyons then waved it off at 0:45 of the round.