‘The Juggernaut’ may have been derailed but Joe Joyce wants to get right back on track with a rematch against Zhilei Zhang.
On April 15 the British heavyweight met his match when his Chinese opponent took the best Joyce had to offer before forcing a stoppage in the sixth round.
For the first half of the fight, it was Zhang landing the much heavier shots. Such was the damage caused to Joyce’s right eye the fight was called off after an examination by the ringside doctor.
Despite the defeat which ended his unbeaten record and dented his world title hopes a rematch clause was already in place which Joyce plans to take up.
Speaking to Sky Sports the 37-year-old said, “We had a meeting with the Warrens so there will be some news coming out soon (about his next steps).
“It would be good to avenge that, a few more rounds and no black eye and I think I would have still been in the fight, and I thought I would start to get to him in the later rounds.
“It was very frustrating but one I’d like to avenge, hopefully we’ll do it again.”
Zhang, ranked fifth in the rankings, has been linked to a fight against number one contender Tyson Fury. ‘The Gypsy King’ recently teased some “massive news” was on the way about an “absolutely monstrous fight”. Zhang would certainly fit the description standing at 6ft 6ins, a southpaw and having weighed in at 278lbs last time out.
Joyce admitted he didn’t have to take the risk to face Zhang but he has no regrets over his decision.
“It’s just part of the story, I lost my 0 but I’ll still continue and be in some great nights. There’s plenty of different options, we’ll have to wait and see.
“I’ve tasted defeat in the amateurs and come back stronger from it.”
Ironically, Daniel Dubois, who Joyce beat in 2020, looks to be next in line to face heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk this summer.