Home Boxing News Zhilei Zhang lands with a bang, wants world title shot next

Zhilei Zhang lands with a bang, wants world title shot next

Zhilei Zhang. Photo credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Heavyweight Zhilei ‘Big Bang’ Zhang has demanded a world title shot next and he doesn’t care who it comes against.

Chinese southpaw Zhang 26-1-1 (21) scored his second straight knockout of 38-year-old Brit Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce 15-2 (14) and he laid him out with a right hook late in the third round at Wembley Arena in London, England on Saturday night.

The victory makes the 40-year-old the leading contender in the WBO to face unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14).

But in his post-fight interview Zhang called out promotional stablemate and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) who is scheduled to take on boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a 10-round non-title bout in Saudi Arabia on October 28.

“The audience, I wanna ask you a question – do you wanna see me shut Tyson Fury up?” Zhang asked the crowd.

In a separate interview Zhang revealed he was previously in talks to face the 35-year-old Fury. Zhang is promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, who co-promote Fury alongside American outfit Top Rank.

“I was very close to [making] a deal with Tyson Fury, until Joe Joyce activated his rematch clause,” Zhang said to Dev Sahni. “Now no more barriers. The road is clear. Let’s do it.”

Zhang didn’t mince words when asked what would happen in a bout against Fury.

“Same thing,” he said.

Promoter Warren seemed lukewarm on the idea of Zhang facing Fury, who recently announced he is only interested in fighting in big events that generate the most money.

That is looking more and more like crossover bouts against mixed martial arts fighters rather than legitimate boxers like Zhang who pose a much greater threat.

Warren wants Zhang to wait for his shot at Ukrainian southpaw Usyk. The 36-year-old is fresh off ninth-round knockout victory over another of Warren’s boxer, Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois 19-2 (18), last month.

“He’s got a promotional deal with us, he’s in a position where he’s the WBO interim champion where he’s the mandatory challenger for their title and next year, probably the WBO will order a mandatory,” Warren said to TNT Sports.

Usyk has established himself as no worse than the second-best heavyweight in the world since moving up from the cruiserweight division four year ago where he unified the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF world titles.

Usyk, who typically boxes around the 220-pound mark, lifted the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles from Anthony Joshua 26-3 (23) on points two years ago and repeated the treatment in their rematch in August last year.

But the six-foot-six Zhang – who weighed in at 287-pounds for his rematch against Joyce – has dismissed Usyk’s chances against him, saying the Ring Magazine’s world champion is simply too small.

“No problem. He’s a cruiserweight,” Zhang said to iFL TV.