Home Boxing News Joe Joyce vows to box on after back-to-back knockout defeats

Joe Joyce vows to box on after back-to-back knockout defeats

Joe Joyce on the canvas after bring knocked out by Zhilei Zhang in their rematch. Photo credit: Sky Sports

The career of heavyweight Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce 15-2 (14) hangs in the balance after suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Zhilei ‘Big Bang’ Zhang 26-1-1 (21) this year.

Back in April, Joyce risked his WBO number one ranking to face Chinese southpaw Zhang. That fight ended in a sixth-round knockout when his right eye was deemed to damaged to continue.

One Saturday night Britain’s Joyce, 38, looked to extract his revenge. It wasn’t to be. The 40-year-old Zhang knocked him out with a right hook at the end of the third.

“It was a risk too far,” Joyce said of their first fight after his second defeat. “Maybe I could’ve gone another route, but I decided to take the challenge and paid the price. But this is not it for me. I’ve got plenty more in the tank, so you should see me again out there. So I don’t know. I’m just gonna have to have a bit of time off, reflect and watch the fight back, and then come back new and improved.”

In the first fight it was Zhang’s left cross that did the damage, busting up Joyce’s face to the point where the ringside physician recommended the referee stop the bout just shy of the midway point.

Zhang employed a different tactic in the rematch, using his left to the body to setting up the deadly right hook that sent Joyce down and out at the end of the third round.

Joyce stacked on a remarkable 25 pounds for the rematch in the hope that the extra bulk would mitigate Zhang’s size advantage. It didn’t work. Joyce was unable to effectively defend himself against the visitor’s heavy blows.

“Zhang is a great fighter and he is a great southpaw,” said Joyce of the six-foot-six 287-pounder. “He’s a former [Olympic] silver medalist and he’s probably avoided by most, so it was probably a bit too far of a risk because I’m not used to fighting southpaws.

“I hadn’t fought a southpaw for a long time. But yeah, he’s a great fighter… and he’s avoided for a reason. [I’m] just disappointed because I got myself into the position I was and then it was obviously a risk too far and I paid the price.”

Joyce was a hot commodity in the heavyweight division after his 10th round knockout victory over domestic rival Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois 19-2 (18) three years ago.

Knockout wins over fringe contenders Carlos Takam 40-7-1 (28) and Christian Hammer 27-10 (17) followed, along with former WBO champion Joseph Parker 32-3 (22).

That’s when the immovable object met the unstoppable force.

“I’m gonna have to talk with my team and see what’s the best route,” Joyce said. “Obviously I’m disappointed. I’ll have to reflect and watch the fight back and see what mistakes I made.

“But hats off to Zhang, he’s a great fighter. And I’m sure he’s gonna be in some great fights next, but I’m gonna have to rebuild and yeah, come back and go a different route.”