- Who: Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2
- What: WBO heavyweight interim title fight
- Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
- Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Wembley Arena in London, England
- How to Watch: ESPN+
Joe Joyce looks to get back in the win column and regain the interim WBO heavyweight title when he faces Zhilei Zhang at Wembley Arena in London, England, on Saturday, September 23. The ESPN+ contest is a rematch of the April matchup between these two. Zhang won that scrap via TKO in the sixth round, putting the first blemish on Joyce’s professional record and taking the interim WBO heavyweight title from him. Here is some background information on Zhang vs. Joyce 2 before we look at the betting breakdown for the upcoming interim heavyweight title fight.
Zhilei Zhang (25-1-1 with 20 knockouts) won the Olympic silver medal in the super-heavyweight division for China in 2008. Zhang went pro in 2014. He was unbeaten in his first 24 fights. Zhang’s first professional setback came in August 2022 when Filip Hrgovic defeated him via unanimous decision. In his next outing, Zhang stopped Joyce. The Ring has Zhang rated at No. 4 in the heavyweight division.
Joe Joyce (15-1 with 14 KOs) won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in the heavyweight division for England. He went pro in 2017 and remained unbeaten until the Zhang fight. Joyce won the vacant WBO interim heavyweight crown in September 2022 with a knockout of Joseph Parker. He is rated No. 6 by The Ring.
Before looking at the betting odds and picks for Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2, check out the best boxing betting sites and our betting picks for the upcoming Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo fight.
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2 betting picks
|To Win Interim WBO Heavyweight Title|
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2 betting breakdown
The betting odds for the first fight between Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce heavily favored Joyce. The Englishman was a -1100 betting favorite over his Chinese counterpart, who entered the contest as a +540 betting underdog. Six rounds into the fight, Zhang’s mighty left hand had closed Joyce’s right eye, forcing the ringside doctor to make the call to wave off the fight. The betting odds for the upcoming rematch are almost a pick ’em.
Despite being a massive betting underdog, Zhang entered the first matchup with a great deal of confidence. That cocksureness only grew throughout the brief fight as Zhang discovered he was faster and more accurate than his foe. Joyce’s lack of movement gave Zhang an easy target to hit, and hit that target he did, flinging out his left hand and seemingly connecting at will, until Joyce could no longer see out of his right eye. If Joyce underestimated Zhang, he made a massive mistake that he could not correct during the fight.
Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: What to watch
Zhang’s team had a great game plan for the first fight. His goal was to not look for the knockout, but to find opportunities to do damage and bank rounds. That worked well and threw Joyce off because no other opponent had taken that tack before. Expect Zhang to have the same approach in the rematch.
Joyce needs to make changes headed into the rematch. He can’t stand in front of Zhang, providing him with a static target. Joyce must move his feet and his head. He needs to fight in close or at a range where Zhang’s left can’t touch him. He needs to be ready to go a full 12 rounds against a fighter who will pressure him. At 37, that’s a lot of changes for Joyce to make for a fight that’s coming not long after the first meeting.
What’s at stake
The winner of this contest could be in line for a shot at current WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, depending on when the WBO requires Usyk to face the No. 1 mandatory challenger for his title.
Best Bets for Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2
The betting odds are much tighter for this fight than they were for the first matchup and while it was a surprise that the betting underdog stopped the betting favorite in that fight, it won’t be a shock to see Zhang triumph in the rematch. If Joyce were younger, if the fight was more removed from the first meeting, and there weren’t any concerns about Joyce’s eye, I would give Joyce more chance. As things stand, the betting pick for Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2 is for Zhang to win by knockout in the fight’s second half.
Best bet for Zhilei Zhang vs. Joe Joyce 2: Zhilei Zhang to beat Joe Joyce by knockout and retain the interim WBO heavyweight title.
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