WBO interim heavyweight champion Joe Joyce faces another seismic test in his career this Saturday, headlining on BT Sport against China’s Zhilei Zhang. Elsewhere, Mikaela Mayer returns to action while Denzel Bentley defends his British middleweight title – all featured in Wednesday’s media workout. Click for more, to watch their individual videos at the Bronx Boxing Gym.
Joyce-Zhang fight week in full swing
15-0 with 14 knockouts, most recently an emphatic 11th-round stoppage becoming the first man to stop former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker last September, Joe Joyce returns this weekend to defend his WBO interim world title.
Standing across from him will be a dangerous contender with 18 years’ experience through the amateur and professional ranks in China’s Zhilei Zhang.
Big Bang, the 39-year-old’s nickname, is apt as it foreshadows what many expect will be another fiery clash and equally represents a progressive move by Joyce as he aims to remain busy under Ismael Salas, itching to fight the best and biggest names.
On this topic, also read:
Fury: 2023 my biggest year yet, assesses matchups with Usyk and Joyce
Usyk, Joyce watch ringside as Fury pummels Chisora in trilogy
Juggernaut rolls on: Joyce’s R11 KO vs. Parker sets up intriguing 2023
After all at 37 himself, time is of the essence. More analysis on that matchup and the overall fight card to come following Thursday’s press conference, but for now, watch these clips from a series of fighters complete with captions for each.
Footage from one half of the main event, complete with his head trainer Ismael Salas and other team members. Pad work and peppering the jab early, but those one-two combos are beautiful and spiteful in equal measure:
The former unified super-featherweight champion makes her in-ring return this weekend, back in London once more, and up a new weight class. The footage doesn’t quite do her steely levels of concentration justice!
Still eager to finish 2023 with eight professional fights, the teenage heavyweight prospect faces a tougher opponent on paper after blasting past his first two… he’s faster than you might think:
Back in London for the first time since 2012, where he lost in the Olympic quarter-finals to eventual champion Anthony Joshua, Zhang will hope for a happier trip home. Here with former boxer-turned-trainer Shaun George, you almost wince at times when he fires up close:
Back at domestic level after daring to be great on US soil late last year, British middleweight champion Bentley has a mandatory challenger to focus on… some skipping and shadow-boxing on display for the 28-year-old here:
Someone’s 10-0 unbeaten streak will end on Saturday, when Noakes faces India’s Karthik Sathish Kumar for two lightweight titles. Look at his subtle movements, and the power he generates when hitting the pads:
Stepping up again, Scotland’s Kieran Smith has a golden opportunity to right the wrongs of his Troy Williamson defeat (R6, TKO) two years ago this month. More pad work and clean fundamentals on show in this last clip:
All pictures and video shown in this piece, captured by me