Zhilei Zhang Stuns Joe Joyce
Chinese southpaw Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) earned the
most important victory of his career with a stunning
sixth-round TKO over undefeated hometown hero Joe Joyce
(15-1, 14 KOs).
Zhang stunned Joyce with sharp left hands in the first two
rounds. In the following round, Joyce tried to step up his
offense, but his inability to see Zhang’s left hand stunted
By rounds four and five, Zhang began comfortably landing his
shots from close range, using his high guard defense to
avoid return fire as Joyce’s right eye began to swell.
After two inspections from the ringside doctor, referee
Howard Foster was forced to end the fight at 1:23 of round
Zhang said, “Today belongs to me. It belongs to everyone who
showed up. It belongs to every Chinese person who showed up
“I’m 39 years old. But I’m disciplined. I train hard. The
next step is for me to fight for a world title."
Joyce said, “I’m just disappointed with my performance. The
[left] hand kept hitting me, and I couldn’t get out of the
way. So, respect to Zhilei Zhang. It was a good fight, but I
think I could have done better.
“I haven’t fought a southpaw for so long. Credit to him
because he’s a good fighter. I gave it my all, and I think I
can do better. It’s just disappointing. I expected to win
like I normally do.”
Mikaela Mayer (18-1, 5 KOs) is ready to take over the
The former unified junior lightweight champion made a
successful debut at 135 pounds by defeating Swedish
contender Lucy Wildheart (10-2, 4 KOs) via unanimous
decision Saturday night at Copper Box Arena in London.
The 32-year-old was originally scheduled to face Christina
Linardatou, but the former two-time junior welterweight
champion was forced to withdraw after not meeting British
Boxing Board of Control requirements. Wildheart, with only
24 hours’ notice, stepped up to the challenge.
Mayer dictated the pace by mixing sharp jabs to the head and
body before unleashing short hooks on the inside. Wildheart,
who is over three inches shorter than Mayer, had some
success with her overhand right.
By round three, Mayer’s left eye showed signs of swelling.
In the fourth and fifth rounds, Mayer stood her ground more
and started to exchange on the inside, beginning her
combinations with hooks to the body instead of a jab.
According to CompuBox, Mayer set new career highs in terms
of body punches, as she landed 18 in the fifth round and 166
throughout the fight.
Mayer captured the WBC interim lightweight title by scores
of 100-90, 98-91 and 98-92, and she expressed her desire to
become undisputed at her new weight class.
Mayer said, “She stepped in at the last minute, so that was
really gutsy of her. It’s definitely a big fight for her to
just jump in at 24 hours’ notice. But she was tough and
durable. I see why she had the confidence to do that, so
props to her.
“I like to fight on the inside, so once I knew that she
couldn’t outbox me, I decided to take it to her a little bit
and try to break her down to the body.
“I do believe that Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are
supposed to go for their rematch, so assuming that still
happens, I will challenge the winner of that. So, it’s
definitely really exciting for me. This is where I belong. I
belong in big fights. I belong in world title fights. I’m in
my prime. I feel great, and I want the toughest challenges
possible, and right now at 135, that’s Katie Taylor."
Heavyweights: 18-year-old phenom Moses Itauma (3-0, 2 KOs)
went the distance for the first time in his career by
defeating iron-chinned Ukrainian Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko
(9-13-1, 6 KOs) via six-round unanimous decision. Score:
Lightweights: Sam Noakes (11-0, 11 KOs) scored a
second-round TKO against Karthik Sathish Kumar (10-1, 4
KOs). Noakes dropped Kumar once in the first round and again
in the second before referee John Latham called a halt to
the fight at 1:17.