April 15: Joyce vs Zhang, Mayer vs Wildheart will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.
UPDATE: Former unified junior lightweight world champion Mikaela Mayer has a new opponent for her lightweight debut. Mayer will battle Swedish contender Lucy Wildheart in a 10-rounder for the WBC interim world title tomorrow at London’s Copper Box Arena after her original opponent, Christina Linardatou, was forced to withdraw after not meeting British Boxing Board of Control requirements.
In the main event, undefeated British knockout artist Joe Joyce defends his WBO interim heavyweight title against Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang.
WHEN IS THE JOYCE VS. ZHANG FIGHT? START TIME
- Date: Saturday, April 15
- Main card: 7 p.m. BST / 2 p.m. ET
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 11 p.m. BST / 6 p.m. ET
- The fight will take place at the Copper Box Arena in London.
- BT Sport will broadcast the fight in the UK, while fans in the U.S. can stream the fight live on ESPN+
- The main card is set to get underway at 7 p.m. BST / 2 p.m. ET with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 11 p.m. BST / 6 p.m. ET. These timings could change due to the length of the undercard fights.
Promoted by Queensberry Promotions, Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Linardatou and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.
Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) captured a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and debuted as a pro following year. The 37-year-old has notched wins over former world champs Bermane Stiverne and Joseph Parker and against title challengers Carlos Takam and Bryant Jennings. In his last fight, Joyce stopped Parker in the 11th round to capture the interim WBO title. The undefeated knockout artist is on the path towards a potential showdown with heavyweight king Tyson Fury, but he’ll need to defend his strap against a fellow silver medalist.
Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs), a 2008 Chinese Olympian, started his career in the paid ranks in 2014. He went 22-0 and captured various regional titles before fighting to a draw against Jerry Forrest in 2021. The 39-year-old then scored stoppage wins over Craig Lewis and Scott Alexander before suffering his first pro loss against undefeated Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic. In terms of height and reach, Zhang and Joyce are identical as both are 6’6” tall with 80-inch reaches.
Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, signed with Top Rank in 2017 and captured the WBO junior lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory against Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. The following year, the Los Angeles native unified the WBO and IBF titles against Maiva Hamadouche. In her last fight, Mayer suffered the first defeat of her career, a razor-thin split decision setback to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena. Mayer wants to reverse her lone defeat, but she’ll first step up to lightweight to face Linardatou, the only woman to defeat Baumgardner in the paid ranks.
In 2016, Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs) unsuccessfully challenged Delfine Persoon for the WBC lightweight world title. She then bounced back with four straight wins, including a victory over Baumgardner and a win against Kandi Wyatt to capture the vacant WBO junior welterweight championship. Linardatou lost the belt to Katie Taylor in 2019 but regained it with a unanimous decision over Prisca Vicot in February 2020. Linardatou returned from a 29-month layoff last July with a six-round points victory against Aleksandra Vujovic.
In other ESPN+ streaming action from London:
- Undefeated heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma (2-0, 2 KOs) makes his third 2023 appearance in a scheduled six-rounder against Ukraine’s Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko (9-12-1, 6 KOs). Itauma made his professional debut in January with a scintillating first-round knockout against Marcel Bode, a performance he replicated against Ramon Ibarra in March.
- In a battle of undefeated lightweights, England’s Sam Noakes (10-0, 10 KOs) will put his regional titles on the line in a 12-round fight against Indian standout Karthik Sathish Kumar (10-0, 4 KOs). Noakes is coming off a fourth-round TKO over then-unbeaten Calvin McCord last November, while Kumar notched a second-round TKO win over Meechaiya Kaiwiset in March.
JOYCE VS. ZHANG FIGHT CARD
(ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT)
• Joe Joyce 256 lbs. vs. Zhilei Zhang 278 lbs
(Joyce’s WBO Interim Heavyweight Title — 12 Rounds)
• Mikaela Mayer 134.5 lbs vs. Lucy WIldheart 134.4 lbs
(Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title — 10 Rounds)
* Wildheart stepped in after Mayer’s original opponent, Christina Linardatou, was forced to withdraw after not meeting British Boxing Board of Control requirements
• Moses Itauma 247 lbs vs. Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko 241 lbs
(Heavyweight — 6 Rounds)
• Sam Noakes 134.5 lbs vs. Karthik Sathish Kumar 134 lbs
(Lightweight— 12 Rounds)