Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (24-1-1, 19 KOs) will enter the ring on April 15 in London against the belt holder of the “interim” WBO world champion Briton Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs).
American news vlog took
interview at the Chinese fighter, in which Zhang spoke about his future opponent, assessed the striking power of the British, gave a forecast for his fight, commented on the upcoming fight for the title of absolute champion between the unified champion from Ukraine Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) and the British WBC champion Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs), and also spoke about the ex-champion from Britain Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs).
You will fight Joe Joyce. He’s undefeated, 15-0 and basically all of his fights have ended in knockouts. What do you think about this fight, what do you think about Joe Joyce?
– I don’t have a general impression of Joe Joyce, but I watched two of his fights – against Dubois and against Parker. I think he has great potential. He is a boxer with a bright future.
– You suffered the first defeat in your career from Filip Hrgovic. What did you learn from that fight?
– When I returned after the fight, we sat down with the whole team, appreciated everything. In truth, we are very happy with the training camp leading up to the fight. Everyone has done their part of the work. Everyone worked really hard on this fight. I lost, but I think it’s a great fight, a great experience for me. I think everyone is very excited about the performance and we will continue to do what we are doing. Some small details need to be fixed, but otherwise everything was fine. We will continue to do what we do.
You have never been knocked out. Joyce has a 93% knockout rate. Do you believe he can knock you out, do you believe he has the knockout power to knock you out, and do you believe you have the knockout power to knock him out with his granite chin?
“Luck is everything at this level. All about the same abilities. It all comes down to who is more fortunate on that day.
Do you think you can win by decision in London?
I don’t think this fight will go all the way. You will see Chinese power again.
Joyce’s chin or Zhilei’s plop? Hearn winds up intrigue
– You are 39 years old, you have 44 amateur fights. Do you believe that you are a higher skill level than Joe Joyce?
39 is just a number for me. I train every day with 20 year old boxers and I feel like I’m about the same. I don’t see any difference. I feel like I’m 20. As an amateur, I’ve been boxing there for 15 years and I’ve got hundreds of fights. Perhaps the record was simply not updated. I definitely feel like I’m more skilled than Joe Joyce.
– Give me your predictions for the fights. What do you think about the Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk fight? Who do you think will win?
– I already said in an interview recently that they are both excellent fighters. Tyson’s height and weight advantages cannot be ignored. This is something everyone should pay attention to. So I think he is great and I believe he will win.
– Great, great. What do you think of the Anthony Joshua vs Franklin fight?
I don’t have a prediction for this fight. Obviously, Joshua is at the lowest point in his career right now and he wants to come back. I just want to wish him good luck. Let’s hope he comes back after his defeats. As for Franklin, he is a good fighter. I watched his fight against Dillian Whyte. A very impressive fighter. I can’t predict anything from this fight. I just want to wish them both good luck.
Joyce on Zhilei fight: ‘He can punch and check my chin’
– Winning the fight with Joyce will put you in fifth or sixth place in the world. What do you think about your possible fights against Andy Ruiz, Usyk, Fury, Whyte and Wilder? What do you think about the fights with these guys and how will they go?
– If I beat Joe Joyce, I want to face all the strong guys, whoever it is. Who will be the strongest – I will pursue him. I just want to show great fights against strong guys. Among all these guys, I certainly want Tyson Fury. He owns all the belts, and I just want the belts too.
– Speaking of your list, Tyson Fury will be number one, and who will be number two and number three?
— Joshua! I lost to Joshua at the London Olympics. It was 10 years ago. I want us to go face to face in the ring again. Number three will be Usyk. He is regarded as the best technician. He is considered one of the best skilled fighters in the heavyweight division. I want to learn from him. Let me see what I can learn from him.
Who is your favorite heavyweight in history?
It’s hard for me to choose one. I like them all. Fighters past and present – I just love boxing in general.
And my last question. Leave a message for the heavyweight division.
“I just want to say to my heavyweight buddies – just train hard!” Everyone must train hard. Our preparation should be worth the attention of the audience. That’s why we’re here – to fight and show great fights for the fans. I know fans are spending a lot of money these days to watch boxing. So we have to train hard to be worthy of this spending. That’s what we’re here for.