What time is Zhang vs Joyce II? The fight will stream live on ESPN+ TODAY beginning at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT
Five months after Chinese left-hander Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang shook the heavyweight boxing scene with a jaw-dropping knockout, he’s gearing up to repeat his triumph. He’s set to face British superstar Joe Joyce again on Saturday, Sept. 23 at OVO Arena Wembley in London, and lucky for us in the U.S., it’ll be streamed live on ESPN+.
The day will see Zhang-Joyce II, two-time light heavyweight title contender Anthony Yarde going up against Ricky Summers, and more undercard action from 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
At 6’6 and 275+ pounds, Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs), really lives up to his explosive nickname. He bagged an Olympic silver medal for China at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After turning pro in 2014, he scored a 24-0-1 record before a disputed loss to Filip Hrgovic last August. But in less than eight months, he bounced back. He tackled Joyce at London’s Copper Box Arena, showering him with powerful lefts until the ringside doctor ended the match in round six due to Joyce’s swollen right eye. This victory meant Zhang nabbed Joyce’s WBO interim world title.
Now, Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist himself, is ready for a rematch in his home turf. Before his first bout with Zhang, “The Juggernaut” was an unstoppable force in boxing, with a five-fight knockout streak against big names like Carlos Takam, Daniel Dubois, and Joseph Parker. Since turning pro in October 2017, he clinched the Commonwealth title in his fourth fight.
Like plenty of other people who watched Zhang shock Joyce via sixth round stoppage back in April, this when Joyce’s eye was badly busted up, his vision compromised, Warren was alarmed at the way “The Juggernaut” was unable to handle Zhang’s southpaw stance. Joyce better have learnt from what he went through in the first fight, Warren said, adding how he feels his fighter was guilty of complacency going into the voluntary fight with “Big Bang.”
“I think complacency might have kicked in with all of us – including me, to be honest. I felt that Joe, especially after that performance against [Joseph] Parker, was really going from strength to strength,” Warren said. “But I genuinely believe he simply struggled with that southpaw stance, and if he struggles again with it, he’ll be in trouble. He’s got to learn from that fight. The rematch is a very big fight, his career’s on the line in that fight.”
Credit to Joyce, 16-1(15) for agreeing to fight Zhang again, yet at the same time, what other obvious options did 37 year old Joyce (he will turn 38 in September) have? Can Joyce get himself through a good training camp where he fully works on coping with that southpaw stance, this with good, quality sparring, and if so, can he get his revenge? Or will it prove to be another bad night for Joyce?
Is Zhang, 25-1-1(20) Joyce’s bogeyman? With very little world class heavyweight action set to take place over the remainder of this year (officially at least), Zhang-Joyce II is one of the biggest heavyweight fights to come here in 2023.
Tickets to see the heavyweight clash between Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce at the OVO Arena, Wembley on Saturday 23 September, go on general sale at midday today (Friday 30 June) from AXS.com.
Zhang vs. Joyce 2 fight card
- Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce; For Zhang’s WBO interim heavyweight title
- Anthony Yarde vs. TBA; Light heavyweight
- Sam Noakes vs. Carlos Perez; Lightweight
- Pierce O’Leary vs. Kane Gardner; Super lightweight
- Zach Parker vs. Khalid Graidia; Super middleweight
- Ezra Taylor vs. Joel McIntyre; Light heavyweight
- Royston Barney-Smith vs. TBA; Super featherweight
- Moses Itauma vs. Amine Boucetta; Heavyweight
- Tommy Fletcher vs. TBA; Cruiserweight
- Aloys Youmbi vs, Erik Nazaryan; Cruiserweight
- Sean Noakes vs. TBA; Welterweight