Joe Joyce suffered his first professional loss in April when he faced the hard-hitting Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang. Fast forward to the upcoming rematch on Saturday, September 23, 2023, and the 37-year-old Brit is crystal clear on one thing he needs to change to set the record straight.
Zhilei Zhang pulled off a shocker, securing a sixth-round technical knockout victory right on Joyce’s home turf, leaving the Olympic silver medalist with a swollen eye so severe that the doctor had to step in and halt the battle.
During that bout, Joyce tipped the scales at 256 pounds, the lowest weight he’d seen since his fifth pro fight against Ivica Bacurin.
But now, the Brit is determined to beef up his physique this time around. He firmly believes that his lighter frame in their initial showdown made him an easy target.
“Yeah, I’m definitely coming in heavier this time. I usually keep a watchful eye on my weight, trying to stay a bit lighter, but I didn’t expect to go that light in my first encounter with Zhang,”Joe Joyce
“That weight was extremely difficult to keep on. Something in my diet didn’t agree with me. I’ll make the required changes, and weight won’t be an issue. I’ll be coming in heavier and striking harder.”Joe Joyce
This decision might turn out to be a masterstroke or a costly gamble. After all, even at 256 pounds, Joyce couldn’t avoid Zhang’s punishing blows.
By bulking up, he hopes to be a tougher opponent to manhandle in the ring. However, there’s a trade-off here: more pounds might mean sacrificing some quick footwork.
The validity of this strategy will be put to the test on September 23, when Joyce and Zhang square off once more. So, fight fans, mark your calendars, and get ready for what promises to be a heavyweight showdown of epic proportions!