Joe Joyce fell to a second defeat in a matter of months to fearsome Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang on Saturday night.
‘The Juggernaut’ spoke about correcting the “mistakes” that saw him suffer a sixth-round TKO defeat at the Copper Box Arena in April and opted to come in 10lbs heavier than he ever had before for the rematch.
Joyce ‘correcting mistakes’ at career-heaviest weight for Zhang rematch
Joe Joyce will be at a career-heaviest weight for Saturday’s rematch with Zhilei Zhang in London on Saturday evening.
‘The Juggernaut’ suffered the first loss of his professional career to the Chinese heavyweight in April, falling to a sixth-round defeat by way of TKO following significant damage sustained to his right eye.
It feels increasingly like must-win territory for Joyce, who lost his WBO ‘interim’ heavyweight title to Zhang after the initial bout.
Another defeat would leave the 38-year-old way outside of the title picture and Joyce has taken measures to absorb some of the ferocious hand speed Zhang has in his locker.
The Brit tipped the scales at a career-high 281.2lbs (20.07st), beating his previous highest weight by 10lbs. Joyce’s decision to came in at 256lbs (18st 2lbs) in April, the lowest he’d been at since 2019, had been criticised after his loss in April.
Zhang, meanwhile, was also at a career-heaviest weight, tipping the scales at 287.2 Ibs (20st 5lbs).
“I knew the weight was a little bit light last time,” said Joyce at Friday’s weigh-in.
“I started the camp already on weight so this time I’ve corrected all the mistakes and been a bit more conscious of what I’ve been eating and the way I’m training.
“I’m in a lot better a place, physically, mentally and also with my focus and drive to win this time.”