Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 Start Time and Preview

LIVE ON: Saturday 23 September 2023

WHO IS BOXING?

On 23 September 2023, Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1) will face British heavyweight Joe Joyce (15-1) is a rematch at OVO Wembley Arena, in London for the WBO Interim Heavyweight Championship. Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 may end up being the best heavyweight match of the year.

The pair previously fought in April at the Copper Box in London, which saw Zhilei Zhang score an underdog victory when the referee stopped the contest following advice from the ringside doctor. Joe Joyce struggled to defend himself against the southpaw Zhang, who caused serious swelling to Joyce’s eye which began to close as the rounds rolled on. The narrative of the first fight was whether the granite chin of The Juggernaut Joe Joyce would hold up, and it did, but few had considered the chance Joyce could be stopped via an injury.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE BUILD-UP?

Nothing too significant. Both Zhang and Joyce enter this contest with the same training teams, and there’s been no significant drama between Zhang and Joyce. Joyce has spoken about his difficulties in dealing with southpaw opponents, and he stated he previously had issues finding southpaws to spar.

Joe Joyce was offered the opportunity to step aside, allowing Tyson Fury the opportunity to box, or at least negotiate a bout with Zhilei Zhang. Joyce refused to step aside and enacted his rematch clause he included in the first contest, determined to retrieve his WBO interim championship. This could have turned into a side-show had protracted negotiations taken place, but Joyce never seemed to entertain the option, despite initial whispers of doing so from his promoter Frank Warren.

In the press conference, things were generally light-hearted. Zhang spoke of targeting Joyce’s eye again, and Joyce wanted redemption and his interim belt back.

WHO IS THE FAVOURITE?

Joe Joyce has been made a slight outsider by the bookmakers, having been heavily favoured in the first bout. Zhang is currently 17/20, with Joe Joyce at 6/5 for a victory by any method.

Speaking to DAZN, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn predicted a 6th round KO for Zhilei Zhang.

WHERE IS THE EVENT?

Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 will take place at the OVO Wembley Arena in London. Tickets remain available for the boxing, priced from £64.65 each on Ticketmaster via the link below.

Tickets: Zhang v Joyce II, London | Sat, 23 Sept 2023, 17:00 | Ticketmaster UK

WHEN DOES THE EVENT START?

The early undercard begins at 5:30 p.m via the Queensbury YouTube page. The main card begins at 7:30 p.m on TNT Sports.

HOW CAN I WATCH?

The event is being broadcast on TNT Sports as part of their subscription.

TNT SPORTS, formally known as BT Sport, is a sports channel package available to customers in the United Kingdom. Prices and packages vary depending on whether you purchase through BT, Sky, or Virgin Media, but it is typically cheaper if you have BT Broadband or purchase through BT

For streaming, TNT SPORTS can currently be purchased for £29.99 per calendar month. This is sometimes bundled as Discovery+ Premium, but includes the TNT SPORTS package.

https://www.bt.com/sport/monthly-pass

WHO ELSE IS FIGHTING ON THE UNDERCARD?

Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 – for WBO ‘Interim’ heavyweight title
Anthony Yarde vs Jorge Silva
Pierce O’Leary vs Kane Gardner

Zach Parker vs Khalid Graidia
Ezra Taylor vs Joel McIntyre
Moses Itauma vs Amine Boucetta
Royston Barney-Smith vs Engel Gomez
Tommy Fletcher vs Alberto Tapia
Sean Noakes vs Lukasz Barabasz
Aloys Youmbi vs Erik Nazaryan

Sam Noakes vs Carlos Perez was removed from the card on 22 September 2023. It was reported Perez suffered an injury, and no replacement could be found.

ANY HIGHLIGHTS ON THE UNDERCARD?

Anthony Yarde is competing for the first time since he was knocked out against Arthur Beterbiev, but the choice of opposition is suspect. Yarde was competing for a world title and has stepped down multiple rungs of the ladder to face Ricky Summers in the co-main event. Yarde was expected to walk through Summers and begin chasing a third world championship opportunity shortly afterwards. However Ricky Summers pulled out, reportedly to face Ben Whittaker. Jorge Silva is the new opponent.

Keep an eye out for Moses Itauma too. The young heavyweight sensation is gaining a rapid following, and could be a real force in the heavyweight division once he gets his ‘man strength’.

RECOMMENDED CONTENT:

Visit YouTube to see a heartfelt moment between Joe Joyce and his mother following his defeat to Zhang. Joyce refuses to accept excuses for the loss even after his shock first defeat. TalkSport have the clip on their channel that also features Gareth A Davies interviewing Joe in the centre of the ring.

ANYTHING ELSE?

The winner of the boxing will emerge as WBO interim champion. In practice, this puts them second in line for a shot at unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk has to complete his mandatory defences or agree a unification with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Assuming the Fury fight does not get made, Usyk will fight IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic, with the winner either unifying with the WBC champion, or facing the WBO interim champion, either Zhilei Zhang or Joe Joyce.

This event clashes with the Misfits and DAZN Series 009 card. You can read a preview of that card here

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