Undefeated heavyweight contender Joe Joyce will ‘defend his Interim belt against Chinese fighter Zhang Zhilei on April 15’ as the Juggernaut keeps himself busy waiting for winner of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk
- Joe Joyce will reportedly defend his Interim title against Zhang Zhilei
- The two heavyweight contenders will face-off in the ring on April 15
- Unbeaten Joyce was hoping to fight Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury next
Interim Heavyweight title holder Joe Joyce has found his next opponent with the Englishman set to defend his belt against Chinese contender Zhang Zhilei.
Joyce, is the mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO championship, but will instead be forced to defend his own title first given Usyk’s ongoing negotiations with Tyson Fury’s camp over a heavyweight unification fight.
Undefeated Joyce will return to the ring for the first time since his September knockout victory over Joseph Parker, with Zhilei expected to travel to London for the title opportunity.
Joe Joyce will reportedly defend his WBO Interim World Heavyweight Title on April 15
Joyce will face 39-year-old Chinese heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang in an upcoming bout
The hard-hitting duo will meet each other in the ring on April 15 with a destination in England’s capital set to be announced soon, as reported by BoxingScene.
The showdown will be the first time 37-year-old Joyce has defended his title after claiming a stoppage win last time out, while upcoming opponent comes into the matchup having lost on points to Croatian challenger Filip Hrgovic in August.
Joyce previously expressed his desire to face WBC champion Fury but will have to instead find a way past a veteran opponent in Zhilei first, with a victory potentially earning him a shot at the victor of Usyk and Fury’s unification match.
Joyce (white shorts) knocked out Joseph Parker (black and red shorts) in September to claim his title
Zhilei lost his last fight on points to Croatian challenger Filip Hrgovic on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s defeat to Oleksandr Usyk
Representatives between Usyk and Fury are reportedly holding ongoing negotiations but haven’t yet established a date or location for the bout.
Fury and Joyce’s co-promoter Frank Warren previously stated following Joyce’s 15th professional career victory, saying: ‘We’re gonna move heaven and earth to make sure he gets a shot at the world title next year , and that will be in the UK.’
Joyce had been hoping to set up a World title opportunity against fellow Englishman Tyson Fury (above)
Joyce’s expected clash with Zhilei see’s two Olympic medallists put their chance at a world title shot on the line.
The Chinese-born fighter claimed silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, with Joyce following eight years later at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
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