The ‘juggernaut’ Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) takes on Chinas Zhilei Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs) at the copper box on Saturday with Frank Warren’s Queensbury promotions providing an exciting night of heavyweight boxing, at a time where fans are left longing for 50/50 heavyweight tear ups.
The main event has all the ingredients to produce fireworks, with two six foot six hard hitting Olympic silver medalists coming head to head in a heavyweight clash. Reference has also been made to the canvas having to be reinforced on the night, due to the men’s sheer size and power.
Joyce, holding the WBO interim world title, is currently in good stead for a world title clash against reigning champions Oleksandr Usyk or Tyson Fury– particularly if he gets through Saturday night in winning fashion. Despite Joyce been frequently open to shots his chin is undeniable and hard hitting Zhang is the perfect opponent to really put his unscathed chin to the test. Zhangs fast hand speed combined with his tricky southpaw stance makes him a solid opponent, who will undoubtedly bring all he has in order to win. Despite having one loss on his record the whole story is not told- with the loss been a controversial decision defeat to the undefeated Filip Hrgovic, who Zhang even floored in the first round. His Olympic pedigree also makes him a great test for Joyce at this stage of his career.
Undoubtedly, fans are seeing Joyce as one of the elite heavyweights in the world and after his brutal knockout win over Joseph Parker and pummelling of the previously undefeated Daniel Dubiois, he has effectively become the ‘bogey man’ of the division. Despite only having 15 pro bouts to date, Joyce’s resigme is certainly admirable.
Expect to see Zhang dangerous early , with a high percentage of his knockouts coming before the 5th round. Joyce will have to be switched on from the get go and fans should expect fireworks from early. However , Joyce’s tank puts him in good stead for success later in the fight with Zhang been known to fatigue in later rounds. Joyce is likely to pressure late on and display his relentless work rate, where he typically takes his opponents to deep waters.
Eighteen year old Heavyweight prospect Moses Iamtua (2-0, 2 KOs) , who is out to beat Mike Tyson’s record of becoming the youngest heavyweight champion, will also appear on the card. Itauma is coming off the back of two first round stoppages and is wanting to fight as much as possible in order to kick start his pro career. Frank Warren speaks highly of the young fighter and sees him as the future of the heavyweight division, the young man also has a lot of confidence in his own ability and sees himself making his way to the top in great fashion. Itauma has sparred the country’s top heavyweights from a very young age and while still in school, certainly making him one to watch in the division. Time will tell for Itauma as his opponents Calibre rises, when fans can then see the best of the young man in action. He is also arguably yet to see his true man power, aged only eighteen.
Denzel Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) will also defend his British middleweight title against Scotland’s Kieran Smith (18-1, 7 KOs). Bentley will be looking to redeem his most recent performance, after coming up short to Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in his WBO world title bout last year. Despite losing the bout by unanimous decision, Bentley proved he was capable of competing at world level. Bentley’s only other loss has been to the undefeated Felix Cash , who is ranked 8th by the Ring Magazine at middleweight.
Also expected on the undercard:
Sam Noakes vs Karthik Sathish Kumar
Mikaela Mayer vs Christina Linardatou
Sonny Ali vs Richard Helm
Seth Gyimah vs Darryl Sharp
Joel Kodua vs Seamus Devlin