Joyce Backs Parker To Beat Zhang

January 23, 2024
3 months
Joyce Backs Parker To Beat Zhang

Joe Joyce has backed Joseph Parker to beat Zhilei Zhang following his win over Deontay Wilder

Joyce knows what it takes to face both men, having had contrasting fortunes against them. Joyce stopped Parker in the 11th round. In a thrilling bout, neither man was giving an inch before Joyce pulled away with a KO finish. Joyce’s fortunes against Zhang fared less better.

He was stopped in two consecutive fights, losing his WBO Heavyweight Interim belt. The defeat leaves Joyce far away from a world title, and at 38, he has some serious thinking to do. He is set to return against Kash Ali on March 16, 2024, hoping to secure a big fight in Saudi Arabia eventually. Ali is hardly a big-name fighter, but Joyce is on the journey of rebuilding himself. Looking back at his former opponents, he had this to say. 

Joyce On Parker

“I’m hopeful for Parker. I’m hopeful for Parker to do it to beat Zhang, and be a little more smart and skillful than I was and get in there. Zhang, he’s very accurate, and if he hits him with a good shot, he can put Parker down no problem,” Joyce said 

The decision to pick Parker may come as a surprise, given that Joyce had beaten him. But Parker’s ability to adapt to his opponent was best summed up in his win over Deontay Wilder. The former WBO Heavyweight Champion managed to stay composed on the outside to avoid Wilder’s right hand.

As he did so, he eventually closed the distance and tagged the Bronze Bomber with his right hand over the top to keep Wilder guessing. The Bronze Bomber had no answer to the game plan. Parker won 11 out of the 12 rounds across the scorecards. A Parker win against Zhang could set up the Joyce rematch, as the Kiwi may well want to settle the score. Based on his previous comments, Parker is looking to get that fight. 

Parker On Joyce

Joyce Backs Parker To Beat Zhang
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“There’s only one way to find out. Let’s make it happen sometime this year. I know that the version of myself that fought Deontay Wilder is a lot different to the version that fought Joe Joyce, so the only way to see both versions of Joe Joyce and myself is to make a fight happen this year,” Parker stated

Parker has also spoken about wanting to avenge his loss to Anthony Joshua, a defeat which meant he lost his WBO Heavyweight Title. Joshua is in line to fight Francis Ngannou on March 8, 2024. Provided that he beats Ngannou, that fight could happen later down the line. 

“I was trying to get the AJ Fight. It would be nice to have the rematch. Now, he’s locked in to fight Francis Ngannou. We initiated and said, ‘Hey, we’re keen to fight if you want to take the rematch,’ but they had other plans,” Parker added

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