London, UK (September, 25, 2023) - British heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Zhilei Zhang in their recent rematch, prompting questions about the future of the 38-year-old fighter's career. Joyce had been eager to reclaim the WBO Interim heavyweight championship after his first professional loss to Zhang in April, but the outcome of their second encounter was far from what he had hoped for.
Despite bulking up to over 20 stone in an attempt to add power to his punches, Joyce's performance in the ring was lackluster, and Zhang delivered a brutal knockout in the third round. This shocking loss has raised concerns about Joyce's ability to absorb punishment and continue competing at a high level.
Former world champion Carl Frampton, speaking after the fight, expressed doubt about Joyce's future in the sport. He noted that there were no apparent improvements in Joyce's performance from their first meeting, which was widely regarded as subpar.
Frampton speculated that Joyce might still be feeling the effects of their initial fight, potentially struggling with nerves and a lack of confidence in his ability to change the outcome. The veteran fighter has long been known for his chin and toughness, but this latest defeat has cast doubts on whether he can maintain those attributes.
Sports commentator Steve Bunce also pointed out that during the rematch, Joyce appeared emotional and unsure of himself. He noted moments when Joyce seemed to turn away from punches, as if he didn't trust his own defenses, particularly his once-incredible chin.
The concern among observers is that Joyce's fighting spirit and resilience, once his hallmarks, may be waning. The defeat to Zhang has left the boxing world wondering what lies ahead for the heavyweight contender and whether he can find a path to redemption.
For Joe Joyce, the road to recovery and resurgence in the heavyweight division may be steep, and his career hangs in the balance following this crushing defeat.