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Zhilei Zhang v Joseph Parker - Tale of the Tape: Weight, height, reach, trainer & professional boxing records

We analyse the credentials and statistics of heavyweight contenders Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker as the pair get set for their Riyadh showdown in March, with the winner likely received a world title opportunity.

Zhilei Zhang v Joseph Parker

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On Friday 8th March, all eyes will be on the clash between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou. 

However, the best bout of the night is between two heavyweight danger men, looking to secure a crack at a world title.

Both Zhilei Zhang (4/9) and Joseph Parker (7/4) enter the fight on the back of career-best wins, and with the WBO ‘Interim’ strap on the line, both men will be desperate to land a shot at the winner of the super-fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

But who will prevail?

It's time to look at the 'Tale of the Tape'...

Zhilei Zhang v Joseph Parker
Tale of the Tape

 Zhilei ZhangJoseph Parker
Nickname:    'Big Bang'N/A
Height:6ft 6ins6ft 4ins
Trainer:Shaun GeorgeAndy Lee
Record:26-1-1 (21 KOs)34-3 (23 KOs)
Last Fight:Won - (KO) v Joe Joyce (September 2023)Won - (UD) v Deontay Wilder (December 2023)

Zhilei Zhang
In Profile

After being avoided for years, Zhilei Zhang is now a man in demand.

And as is often the case, it was a loss which kickstarted his career.

‘Big Bang’ fought Filip Hrgovic in 2022, in a final eliminator for the IBF heavyweight title. It was the Croatian who had his hand raised, but many observers felt Zhang had done enough.

Sensing an opportunity for his fighter to make a statement, Frank Warren arranged for Joe Joyce to face the Chinese, confident ‘The Juggernaut’ would defeat Zhang more handily than Hrgovic had.

Zhang did not read the script.

Joyce’s perpetual march forward was halted by a hard southpaw jab and straight left hand. Eventually, Zhang inflicted so much eye damage that the doctor called off the fight in the sixth round. The Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist had upset the odds, capturing the WBO ‘Interim’ strap in the process.

A rematch held five months later ended even more conclusively as Zhang knocked out the Englishman in the third frame.

At 40-years-old, his stock has never been higher.

With a monstrous frame and deceptively fast hands, the left-hander is a hard night’s work for any fighter on the planet.

Victory over Parker could secure Zhang a shot at the winner of the undisputed bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. He will be determined not to fall at the final hurdle. 

One-punch knockout powerSlow feet
Straight left handFades late in fights
TimingMoves back in straight lines
Applies pressureLack of head movement

Joseph Parker
In Profile

In an era where fighters are increasingly risk adverse, the route of least resistance is the invariably the one taken. This is not the case for Jospeh Parker.
The New Zealander has been a breath of fresh air - a boxer who has been willing to take gambles.

This approach paid dividends early in his career, as he captured the WBO heavyweight title, four-and-a-half years after turning professional. 

Parker won the title by outpointing Andy Ruiz - who would go onto beat Anthony Joshua - in Auckland, at a time when the American was undefeated.

After a routine defence against Razvan Cojanu, a trio of Brits followed. Parker prevailed against Hughie Fury, lost his belt in a unification with Joshua and then found himself on the wrong end of a decision in a highly competitive fight against Dillian Whyte.

Despite back-to-back defeats, Parker did not lose the instinct to roll the dice. In 2021, he bested - unbeaten - Junior Fa before coming out victorious in two hard-fought battles with Dereck Chisora.

A punishing stoppage defeat to Joe Joyce, in 2022, appeared to signify the end of the 32-year-old’s time as an elite heavyweight.

Parker had other ideas though.

Last December, the New Zealander faced former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder. Few gave Parker much of a chance against the vaunted puncher, but he upset the odds to soundly outbox the American.

After such a win, many would bide their time and wait for a title opportunity, but not Parker. Once more he finds himself as the underdog against a physically imposing fighter who packs a punch. 

Yet again, he will be confident of silencing his critics.

Hand speedLacks killer instinct
UppercutHead movement
JabMoves back in straight lines
Combination punchingStays in range too long

All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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