Heavyweight contender Joe Joyce is now going for a second fight with Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang.
According to Joyce’s manager, Shane Watson, the British Olympian has activated his immediate rematch clause to force a repeat contest with Zhang.
Last month, Zhang pulled off a shocker when he stopped Joyce, who suffered his first career defeat.
Joyce had issued with the southpaw style of Zhang, who was able to land left hands throughout the fight – which led to a doctor’s stoppage when Joyce’s right eye was swollen shut.
It appeared that Joyce was going to take part in an interim-bout and then face Zhang before the close of 2023, but he wants to reclaim his mandatory standing with the WBO. With the victory, Zhang walked away with the WBO interim-title.
“The first fight was what it was. Joe knows how to put it right. We spoke about an interim fight but Joe made it clear he wanted the rematch as soon as possible and this shows how Joe will take any top heavyweight on at anytime,” Watson told Talk Sport.
The recent news would take Zhang out of the running to face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the month of July.
Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum, who co-promotes Fury, stated in a recent interview that Zhang was the frontrunner to face Fury in the summer at Wembley Stadium in London.
There is always the possibility of working out a step-aside deal with Joyce, who as part of the deal would get a guaranteed crack at the winner of Fury-Zhang.
Fury, Joyce and Zhang are all promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.