Here are the most eye-catching stories from this weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang shocked most everyone this past Saturday when he stopped interim WBO heavyweight champ Joe Joyce in the sixth round of their bout at Copper Box Arena in London. Technically a doctor’s stoppage due to a shut and badly battered right eye, there was little doubt as to whether the southpaw Zhang deserved the win in this bout where he pretty much landed his left hand at will.
Joyce, with his eye nearly shut and after being rattled a few times, fought with urgency in the fifth round for fear that his injury would force a stoppage. He couldn’t hurt the big native of Zhoukou, China, who now resides in Bloomfield, New Jersey. And, ultimately, he couldn’t change the tide of the fight.
The British Joyce was the big favorite coming into this bout, which was considered by many as just a stay-busy contest before he could grab a world title fight against either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk or, possibly, a big ticket main event tussle with Anthony Joshua. Presumably, Zhang, whose last fight was a tightly-contested decision loss to Filip Hrgovic last August, will now step into the spot Joyce held and get his opportunity at next-level stardom.
“Today is mine,” Zhang said, via translator, in his post-fight interview. “It belongs to every Chinese person who showed up. I’m 39 but I’m disciplined and I trained hard. My next step is to go for the title.”
– Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Ryan “KingRy” Garcia are set to do battle this coming Saturday, April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. That’s really all there is to say. This clash of 20-something undefeated fighters with explosive one-punch power is going to be really good.
– Undefeated WBA Super Middleweight Champion David Morrell Jr. will now be facing Olympic Bronze Medalist Yamaguchi “The Problem” Falcao on the undercard of the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia SHOWTIME PPV event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this coming Saturday, April 22.
Brazil’s Falcao replaces heavy-handed Ghanaian Sena Agbeko, who was forced to withdraw after not being licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The reasons for being denied a license have been a subject of rumor, but nothing from any of the parties involved has been solidly confirmed at the time of this writing.
– Youtuber/Social media influencer-turned boxer Jake Paul will be taking on UFC legend Nate Diaz in a boxing match Aug. 5 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The eight round pay-per-view bout, to be broadcast worldwide by DAZN, will be contested at 185 lbs. The 26-year-old Paul is coming off his first career boxing loss when he dropped a split decision to Tommy Fury this past February in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. This will be the 37-year-old Diaz’s first professional boxing match, although he’s trained extensively in the sport.
– Rising undefeated heavyweight star Jared Anderson is moving up to the main event main stage and will be headlining an ESPN show on July 1 in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio against an opponent to be named. In his last bout, this past Saturday, he battered and stopped a tough and previously undefeated George Arias in three rounds.
– WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has confirmed to media that he has no plans to strip the inactive Jermall Charlo of the WBC middleweight title despite about 21 months of inactivity. Charlo last fought June 19, 2021, scoring a unanimous decision victory over Juan Macias Montiel.
Sulaiman met with Charlo when both were present at the David Benavidez-Caleb Plant fight in March.
“It was a wonderful meeting, very nice,” Sulaiman told Izquierdazo. “He has been through complicated personal issues. He thanked the WBC for the support that we have given to him.”