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Zhilei Zhang Plans to Outdo Joe Joyce Against Joseph Parker

Zhilei Zhang Plans to Outdo Joe Joyce Against Joseph Parker

Zhilei Zhang has an immense amount of respect for Joseph Parker, a former WBO heavyweight champion who has fought a long list of former champions and contenders. Most heavyweights wouldn’t have welcomed a dangerous showdown with the powerful fighter who brutally knocked out the only opponent to beat him inside the distance. That’s exactly the scenario Parker embraced after he revitalized his career by upsetting Deontay Wilder on December 23 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Less than 10 weeks later, on March 8 at Kingdom Arena, Parker will encounter Zhang, the gigantic Chinese southpaw whose right hook knocked out Joe Joyce late in the third round of their immediate rematch September 23 at OVO Arena Wembley in London.

“I was a little surprised that Parker took the fight with me so fast,”  through his translator. “That says a lot about this guy. He’s a warrior. He doesn’t pick and choose his opponents. I give him a lot of respect.”

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New Zealand’s Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) has indeed fought a long list of former champions and contenders over the past 7½ years. Former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs), Joyce (15-2, 14 KOs) and Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) are the only opponents who’ve beaten Parker. The former WBO champion has defeated Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs), a former WBC champ, Andy Ruiz Jr. (35-2, 22 KOs), who upset Joshua 4½ years ago to win the abovementioned titles, Dereck Chisora (34-13, 23 KOs) in both of their fights, two then-undefeated fighters in Junior Fa (20-3, 11 KOs) and Hughie Fury (26-3, 15 KOs) and Carlos Takam (40-8-1, 28 KOs), who had lost just twice before Parker beat him.

Wilder was a 7-1 favorite, yet Zhang, who resides and trains in northern New Jersey, predicted Parker would win their 12-round fight last month. Parker’s upset ruined the Anthony Joshua-Wilder fight that was planned to headline another Saudi-sponsored pay-per-view show March 8.

“Before the fight, I was expecting Parker to go the distance and beat Wilder,” Zhang recalled. “That was my pre-fight prediction and he delivered it. So, I was happy to see that.”

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Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) thought Wilder would lose because, though a pulverizing puncher, Wilder had boxed less than one round in the 26 months since his 11th-round knockout loss to Tyson Fury in their third WBC title fight. Parker fought for the fourth time with Wilder in the almost 14 months since Joyce knocked him out.

“The big reason was activity,” Zhang said. “Parker has been fighting. He fought [four] times last year, but when you look at Wilder, he’s been inactive. So, his timing was off and he had ring rust. That’s why I picked Parker. … But also, [Wilder] depends a lot on his right hand. He feels like he can knock everybody out, which is true, but if the opponent capitalizes off of that, then what else do you have?”

Wilder didn’t do much else

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Spivey Cathy is a professional article writer who has gained extensive experience in the industry. Her work has appeared in esteemed publications such as BBC News and ABC. Currently, she is writing articles for Smogcoders.com, where she showcases her talent for captivating storytelling and technical expertise.

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