We’re 10/3 on Joe Joyce maintaining his charge towards a world title shot with a late stoppage victory over ‘Big Bang’ Zhilei Zhang on Saturday night.
Joyce, the current WBO number one ranked contender, had hoped to step inside the ring with the unified Ukrainian champion this spring after his hotly-anticipated showdown with Tyson Fury frustratingly fell by the wayside.
However, Daniel Dubois, beaten by Joyce in 2020, has been earmarked to tackle the former cruiserweight king, with Usyk’s WBA title likely being put on the line against the Londoner in the coming months.
There’s no doubt that Joyce deserves his first crack at a title though, having followed up his stunning KO victory over Dubois in 2000 with equally as demolishing successes over Carlos Takam, Christian Hammer and former title-holder Joseph Parker.
But he knows there is absolutely no room for a slip-up in the capital against Zhang if he is to retain his current position as the WBO mandatory.
Joyce – who captured a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games – has been emphatic since moving to the professional ranks five-and-a-half years ago – winning all 15 of his bouts, 14 of which were ended well inside the distance.
Whilst Zhang carries plenty of KO power and pedigree himself, it’s Joyce who carries the tagging as the huge odds-on pre-fight favourite at 1/10, with his monstrous Chinese opponent installed as the big 6/1 outsider.
Joyce was superb in his 11th round stoppage victory over former WBO champion Joseph Parker in September, and pulverising in his fourth and sixth round stoppages of Hammer and Takam previously, and will undoubtedly be eyeing an equally as eye-catching statement this weekend.
Despite his underdog status, Zhang, has proven he can cut the mustard at elite level, taking the hugely-talented Filip Hrgovic the full distance in Saudi Arabia last time out, before controversially falling on the wrong side of a UD.
Zhang is sharp, he is tough and durable and will take some wearing down - there’s every chance he tests that seemingly granite chin of Joyce’s too!
But’ you’d expect the 37-year-old’s heavy-handed, and relentless, approach to wear his opponent down late on – making the 10/3 on offer for a post seventh round stoppage victory for Joyce all the more appealing.
All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.