By Mark Eisner: Joe Joyce will be out for revenge, on a mission to salvage his career tonight against WBO interim heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang. The main portion of the card will be shown in the U.S. on ESPN+ at 5 p.m. ET. Unfortunately, the undercard is barren of appealing fights.
Results of tonight’s live boxing action will be shown below.
The only name fighter on the undercard is light heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) in a 10 round fight against Jorge Silva (22-8, 12 KOs).
This is a move to rebuild Yarde’s confidence after his recent eighth-round knockout loss to IBF, WBC & WBO 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev last January in London.
Yarde performed well in that bout, and there was no reason for his promoter to match him against a weak opponent after that defeat. He’s 32 now, and he doesn’t need to waste time with his career by facing a guy at Jorge Silva’s level.
For Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs), who just turned 38, the situation is dire for him in terms of needing a win in his rematch against Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) in their main event contest.
Joyce was stopped in the sixth round by Zhang last April, and there was nothing from that performance that would indicate that tonight’s rematch will be any different.
Moreover, what little chance ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce has of avenging his defeat, he may have thrown it out the window with his decision to bulk up to 281 lbs from the 256 that he weighed for the first fight.
Putting on 25 lbs is a sign of desperation on Joyce’s part, and it also gives one a glimpse of how rudderless he is as far as his training team.
Joyce needs to start fast
“I think he will stop him earlier if Joe Joyce leaves his face in front of his fists, but I don’t think he will this time. I think he’ll start faster. He’s not a fast starter, but my pick today is going to be Joe Joyce by 10th round stoppage,” said Gareth A. Davies to iFL TV, picking Joe Joyce to defeat Zhilei Zhang tonight in their rematch in London.
With the weight that Joyce has put on, it’s going to be difficult for him to move around the ring other than coming straight ahead like he always does. That’s obviously what the game plan is to try and defeat Zhang.
“He’s going to withstand Zhang. I know it’s traditional to go with the guy that won the first [fight]. It’s a big event for both men because they both got to win this.
“Joe Joyce must win this. Otherwise, he goes further down the snake and has to climb the ladder, but I think he’s got it in him. It was a poor performance last time out. He started slowly he got hammered by the left hand over and over again, and Zhang was clever and took advantage of it.
“He wasn’t desperately hurt, but that right eye was virtually closed. It was certainly a referee stoppage, and it was the right thing to do. He was very disappointed with not working Zhang out earlier in the fight.
“Zhang’s a dangerous southpaw. He slows down as the fight goes on, and I think if Joe can withstand the early pressure and not get hit too much but land plenty of his own, I think he’ll tire Zhang and stop him with a tenth round stoppage.
“A lot of people will pick Zhang because he was so convincing and so dominant the first time around, and generally, the guy that wins the first fight wins the second fight.
“There was little in there to find Joe with timing or hand speed and those things to overcome Zhang. He’s the one that has to make all the adjustments on Saturday night,” said Davies.