Rebooting the Juggernaut: Can Joe Joyce, a heavyweight seemingly resistant to change, be reprogrammed and updated at a time when it could be essential?

If there was one type of fight Joe Joyce’s handlers would have desperately avoided throughout his career, it would have been a rematch. Rematches imply a need for change and adaptability from the defeated fighter, qualities that Joe Joyce doesn’t excel in inside the boxing ring. This is not to say that Joyce cannot adjust or that a rematch won’t trigger the change needed for him to reverse his fortunes. However, the idea of Joyce involved in a rematch seems incongruous with the heavyweight he appears to be and his strengths. Yet, he now finds himself preparing for a rematch against Zhilei Zhang, his opponent and scourge. Zhang, the unheralded southpaw from China, exposed the limitations of Joyce’s style in their first fight and showed that Joyce could be deterred and outboxed. This aspect of their first fight raises the question of how important it will be in the upcoming rematch and for Joyce’s future.

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