Zhilei Zhang scored a sixth round TKO as the referee stopped the fight due to Joe Joyce’s eye being almost completely closed.
In what was a huge upset victory, according to the betting odds, heavyweight Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1) earned a sixth-round TKO victory over Joe Joyce (15-1). The referee stopped the fight as Joyce’s eye was nearly shut, and although he felt he could continue, the referee couldn’t let the fight go on. Zhang goes on to become the interim WBO heavyweight champion.
Shook up the Heavyweight division 😯 pic.twitter.com/ju0WWR2Iku
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) April 15, 2023
In the first round, Zhang did precisely what he said he would, and that’s box while landing the straight left hand down the middle. Zhang landed a few clean shots on Joyce’s chin, which made him switch from his usual aggressive style to boxing. Joyce landed a looping right hand but couldn’t get going. Zhang landed a huge straight left in the second round that hurt Joyce badly, but the referee broke up the action for whatever reason. Joyce tried to rally back, but Zhang busted Joyce’s nose and deflated any momentum that Joyce may have had towards the end of the round.
During the third round, Zhang landed his left hand at will, and Joyce’s eye was nearly closed. Joyce was coming back with hard combinations, but he clearly couldn’t see the left hand coming from Zhang. In the fourth round, Joyce was showing the heart of a warrior and moving to Zhang’s right to avoid the left hook, but when he slowed down, Zhang landed the straight left. Zhang kept pumping the left, left jab in the fifth round, and Joyce’s eye was just about closed.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) April 15, 2023
After taking a few left hands from Zhang, the referee stopped the action in the sixth round for the doctor to look at Joyce’s eye. The doctor left it up to the referee, and Howard Foster took a look at Joyce and stopped the fight. Zhilei Zhang shook up the heavyweight division with this huge victory and will now be next in line for a heavyweight title if he doesn’t rematch Joyce later this year.
MIKAELA MAYER EARNS UD IN FIRST FIGHT AT LIGHTWEIGHT
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) April 15, 2023
It wasn’t the most memorable performance from Mikaela Mayer (18-1), but she was able to get the job done. The fight went to the scorecards, and the judges saw this one 98-92, 100-90 & 98-91, all for Mayer as she is the new interim WBC lightweight champion. Although Lucy Wildheart (10-2) was a last-minute opponent, she put up a solid fight, but Mayer controlled the action with her straight right hand and solid body punching. It was the lightweight debut of Mayer, and there are some things she needs to work on if Mayer wants to compete with Katie Taylor or Amanda Serrano. What’s next for Mayer? She will likely take another fight if she cannot secure the winner of Taylor-Serrano II.