Joe Joyce is gearing up for a rematch against Zhilei Zhang after suffering his first professional defeat earlier this year. The defeat marked the end of Joyce's unbeaten run, but he is coming into the rematch with a renewed focus and dedication. Joyce acknowledges the mistakes made in their first fight and aims to learn from them.
Joe Joyce, once seen as an "indestructible juggernaut," had his unbeaten streak halted by Zhilei Zhang in April in a punishing encounter that ended in the sixth round due to damage to Joyce's eye.
Now, Joyce is preparing for a chance at revenge as he faces Zhang at the OVO Arena, Wembley on September 23, with the fight set to be broadcast live on TNT Sports.
Reflecting on the upcoming rematch, Joyce expressed his readiness, stating, "I'm feeling good, pumped, ready, switched on. I'm a bit heavier than before, and more experienced, I know what to do this time around."
Acknowledging the mistakes made in the previous fight, Joyce revealed that he's approaching this bout with more dedication and focus, having had additional practice dealing with the southpaw style, both in sparring and tactical preparation.
Before his loss to Zhang, Joyce appeared to be on track for potential clashes with heavyweight titans like Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk. He now aims to get his career back on track in the rematch and extend his professional record to 16-1.
Joyce noted that he's coming into this fight heavier than in their initial meeting and is better prepared mentally for the task at hand. He explained, "I felt like I was a bit light. There was something in my diet that wasn't really agreeing with me, and I think it was tough to keep the weight on."
The first bout revealed that Zhang was heavier and difficult to push back, but Joyce's increased weight for the rematch should help him handle these challenges. Joyce admitted that he was somewhat surprised by Zhang's accuracy and speed in their first encounter and that he might have taken his eye off the ball while looking ahead to future fights.
Nevertheless, the defeat has motivated Joyce to be more dedicated and focused in his pursuit of reclaiming the WBO Interim Heavyweight Title.
Zhang vs. Joyce fight page here