Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang are two of the most formidable heavyweights in the world, and they will face each other on April 15 at the Copper Box Arena in London. Both fighters are Olympic silver medallists, big punchers, and nearly the same size. BT Sport will broadcast the fight in the UK, while fans in the U.S. can stream the fight LIVE on ESPN+
Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) is coming off a sensational 11th-round knockout of former champion Joseph Parker in September, which cemented his status as one of the top contenders for the WBO title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk. Joyce is a relentless pressure fighter who wears down his opponents with his volume, power, and durability.
Joyce is known for his heavy hands and his ability to finish fights with one punch. He has knocked out some of the toughest contenders in the division, such as Daniel Dubois, Bermane Stiverne and Alexander Ustinov. He also has a high knockout ratio of 86%, which is impressive for a heavyweight. Joyce’s power comes from his size, his technique and his conditioning. He stands at 6’6″ and weighs around 250 lbs, giving him a significant advantage over smaller opponents. He also throws accurate and crisp punches, with good leverage and timing. He trains hard and maintains his stamina throughout the fight, allowing him to keep his power until the final bell.
Zhilei Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs) is a southpaw who has been fighting professionally since 2014, after winning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and competing at the 2012 London Games. Zhang has won consistently but has not faced many notable names in his career. His only blemish was a draw with Jerry Forrest in February 2021, when he ran out of gas after dropping Forrest four times in the first three rounds. Zhang bounced back with three wins over journeymen, and then gave unbeaten contender Filip Hrgovic a tough fight in August, losing a close decision that many thought he deserved to win.
The fight between Joyce and Zhang is an intriguing matchup of styles and skills. Joyce has the advantage in experience, stamina, and chin, while Zhang has the edge in speed, movement, and southpaw stance. Both fighters have knockout power and can hurt each other with one punch. The key factors that could decide the outcome are Joyce’s jab and Zhang’s left hand. Joyce’s jab is his main weapon, and he uses it to set up his combinations and control the distance. Zhang’s left hand is his most dangerous punch, and he can land it from different angles and catch Joyce off guard.
Joyce is known for his high work rate and his relentless pressure on his opponents. He throws a lot of punches per round, averaging around 60 according to CompuBox statistics. He also varies his punches well, mixing up jabs, hooks, uppercuts and body shots. He does not let up on his opponents and keeps them on the back foot with his constant aggression. He also cuts off the ring well and does not give them any space to breathe or recover. Joyce’s work rate is a product of his fitness, his confidence and his style. He trains hard and keeps himself in peak physical condition for every fight. He also believes in himself and his abilities, and does not let any doubts or fears affect him. He fights with a pressure style that suits his attributes and gives him an edge over most of his rivals.
The prediction for this fight is that Joyce will prevail by a late stoppage or a unanimous decision. Joyce has proven that he can take a punch and keep coming forward, while Zhang has shown signs of fatigue and vulnerability in some of his fights. Joyce will use his jab to keep Zhang at bay and disrupt his rhythm, while Zhang will try to counter with his left hand and create openings. As the fight progresses, Joyce will increase his pressure and output, while Zhang will fade and lose steam. Joyce will eventually break down Zhang with his relentless assault and either force a referee intervention or win on the scorecards.