Zhilei Zhang: Avoided Again? Frozen Out After Joshua – Ngannou Announcement

By Tim Compton - 01/08/2024 - Comments

Zhilei Zhang once again finds himself frozen out by former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in favor of boxing newcomer Francis Ngannou.

WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) was passed over by Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) and his promoter Eddie Hearn by a fighter, Ngannou (0-1), coming off a loss to Tyson Fury, who has virtually no chance of beating him when the two square off in March in Saudi Arabia.

The powerful 6’6″ Zhang is coming off consecutive victories over Joe Joyce in 2023, causing the boxing world to talk about him.

Joshua, however, prefers to fight the inexperienced Ngannou in what looks like a classic money-grab-level fight. If Joshua wins that fight, he’s expected to fight for the IBF title against Filip Hrgovic in the summer.

Calling Out Champions, Facing Silence

Zhang has tried calling out Joshua, WBC champion Tyson Fury, and IBF/WBA/WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk and heard nothing back. Now, to see Joshua fighting a non-boxer coming off a loss to an out-of-shape Fury, just takes the whole cake, leaving Zhang’s blood boiling.

Zhang believes that Joshua wouldn’t fight him if he thought he had any chance of losing, and he says Hearn won’t let the fight happen due to the risk.

Although Hearn talks about Joshua having beaten Zhang in the 2012 Olympics, believing that he can beat him in the pros, his actions speak louder than words. Instead of Hearn matching Joshua against Zhang, his opponents in the last five years have been these guys:

– Otto Wallin
– Robert Helenius
– Jermaine Franklin
– Oleksandr Usyk
– Kubrat Pulev
– Andy Ruiz Jr.

The Fight That Never Was

“I never thought this fight would be made. If Joshua believes he only has 40% chance he can beat me, it won’t happen,” Zhilei Zhang said to Boxing News about his frustration at not getting a chance to fight Anthony Joshua.

“Eddie Hearn will not let him fight me. It’s too much of a risk.  They know how to avoid all the risks,” Zhang continued.

It’s pretty clear that Zhang will never get a chance to fight Joshua because he’s too dangerous for him, especially now that his career has been resurrected by Hearn, thanks to his careful matchmaking. Hearn isn’t going to spoil his hard work by putting AJ in with Zhang and watching it all go up in smoke.

“That’s how he [Hearn] does his work as a promoter. I believe they successfully avoided all the risks, but I don’t know if this fight will ever happen in the future; they will just keep using my name to build up whatever they want to build up,” said Zhang.

YouTube video