Home Boxing News Joe Joyce rejected Tyson Fury offer in favour of Zhilei Zhang rematch

Joe Joyce rejected Tyson Fury offer in favour of Zhilei Zhang rematch

Joe Joyce with Tyson Fury

Promoter Frank Warren has praised Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce 15-1 (14) for insisting on a rematch with sole conqueror Zhilei Zhang 25-1-1 (20) rather than pursuing a shot at WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24).

The 37-year-old Joyce of London was stopped in six rounds by Chinese southpaw Zhang, 40, when they clashed in April. The fight was close and competitive but Joyce suffered damage to his right eye that forced the ringside physician to recommend the referee halt the bout. The rematch will take place at Wembley Arena in London on September 23.

Warren, who co-promotes Fury, said he put forward a proposition for Joyce to challenge Fury but it was rejected. Fury, 34, remains without a dance partner this year.

“When we first made the fight Joe was [WBO interim] champion, with Zhilei at number two, so Joe went straight to the guy who was his immediate challenger with no messing about,” said Warren.

“We did put a rematch clause in there and, after the fight, we weren’t sure if Joe was going to be ready because he obviously sustained quite a bad eye injury, the reason why the doctor stopped the fight. So we were talking about Zhang fighting Tyson, but Joe said no, he didn’t want anyone in the middle and wanted the rematch.

“That tells you all you need to know about Joe Joyce. Straight in there, nobody else is getting in-between, ‘I’m in, I want to win my title back’.

“That was his prerogative, he insisted on it and we delivered it for him. It is now up to Joe. He is a sensible guy and one of the best people I have worked with in boxing, a nice person with a great team. He knows what he’s got to do and I think he has got the capability to win his title back.

“If he does that, he becomes mandatory for the WBO version of the title and whoever is holding that after the fight between [Oleksandr] Usyk and Daniel Dubois, which takes place in August.”

Joyce says the five-month break between bouts has been enough to time recover sufficiently both mentally and physically.

“I’ve had time to rebuild, relax, let my hair down a little and reflect on what went down and what I need to do to get back on the horse and ride into the sunset!” said Joyce.

“It is back to the drawing board and little improvements on things, nitpicking on bits I need to get right for this next camp coming. I think, watching it back and seeing the shots thrown and landed and stuff, it was terrible for me to experience that, but it is all a learning curve.

“I have taken losses in the amateurs and came back and won a silver medal – if not, the gold – and I can do it again in the pros. I’ve got the experience and the drive.

“I don’t want to take the long route to get back for the title, all I’ve got to do is beat him and I am back in line for a mandatory shot.

“That is important to me and I want to be a world champion and I want to deliver on my dreams, goals and aspirations. That is why I am here.

“I want to be in big fights and this is a massive fight. You think fights are going to happen and they don’t, but this fight is definitely going to happen.”