Joe Joyce hated being on the outside looking in
The source of Joyce’s frustration was that he had been on a path to face Usyk, before his shocking loss to Zhilei Zhang in April. Seeing Dubois take his spot, a fighter he beat via 10th round TKO in 2020 was hard to take.
“It was frustrating that it was the guy I beat convincingly that got the shot before me,” said Joyce (per BoxingScene.com). “And it bothers me that I was once the WBA gold [champion] and paid the sanctioning fees, and then I was completely out of that [mix]. That’s a route I could’ve taken, but I did the WBO route and I’m in that position again. But to have to lose to Zhang, when I was so close and I could’ve just waited and took a different shot, it was quite a hard time and lesson to learn.”
Joyce exercised a rematch clause to fight Zhang this Saturday. He told Boxing Scene he felt he needed to do this in order to get himself back in the mix for a potential Usyk showdown.
“I don’t really have time to piece my way back another way, so I have to. Because I could’ve had a fight in the meantime. Someone could’ve fought Zhang instead or Zhang could’ve had that opportunity at the WBO [title]. But this is why I enacted the immediate rematch [clause], so I can get back in position.”
Zhang vs. Joyce 2 is this Saturday
The rematch between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang goes down this Saturday (September 23) at London’s OVO Wembley Arena. The event is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET with the main event ringwalks expected for around 4:30 p.m. ET.
Before his upset loss to Zhang, Joyce was working his way into the conversation for heavyweight boxing’s biggest fights.
The 38-year-old Olympic silver medallist had pieced together a 15-0 pro career before the Zhang loss. His most notable win was his 11th round KO over Joseph Parker in 2022. That win clinched the vacant WBO interim heavyweight title (which he then lost to Zhang).
The 40-year-old Zhang is also an Olympic silver medallist. As a pro he has a 25-1-1 career, the only blemish being a unanimous decision loss to Filip Hrgovic in 2022.
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