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'I think Dubois needs to work on his heart' - Says Zhilei Zhang About Usyk vs Dubois Clash

Zhilei Zhang, the current WBO interim-heavyweight champion, held a press meeting in New York City with Chinese media representatives to discuss his upcoming rematch against fellow Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce.

The Zhang vs. Joyce rematch is set to take place on September 23rd at the Wembley Arena in London, Joyce’s hometown. The event will be broadcasted live on ESPN+ in the US, Douyin in China, and TNT Sports in the UK.

Zhang provided a brief update on his training camp, emphasizing that he’s well-prepared for the challenge. He mentioned that while Joyce is known for his activity and power, his sparring partners, such as Alonzo Neal, Dmytro Bezus, and Mariusz Wach, offer a diverse range of skills that have helped him in his preparation. Neal, a 2023 National Golden Gloves finalist, showcases impressive punching output, Bezus, with a record of 10-1, possesses significant power, and the veteran Mariusz Wach brings a substantial size advantage to the training camp.

“People say Joyce is so active and hits hard, but when it comes to sparring, I am working with Alonzo Neal, who throws more punches than Joyce, Dmytro Bezus who hits harder than Joyce, and Mariusz Wach, who at 300 pounds is bigger than Joyce.”

In April, Zhang claimed the WBO interim-heavyweight title by defeating Joyce in the sixth round. Zhang’s left-hand shots caused severe swelling on Joyce’s right eye, leading the ringside doctor to stop the fight in Zhang’s favor.

Although Zhang had aspirations of moving forward to challenge WBC champion Tyson Fury after this victory, Joyce triggered a rematch clause in their contract, delaying Zhang’s pursuit of Fury temporarily.

Zhang expressed his readiness to face Joyce again, displaying confidence in his ability to make history once more.

Beside Zhang was his trainer, former light heavyweight and cruiserweight Shaun George, who indicated that the training camp is progressing optimally. He assured that they’re finding the right balance between intensity and pacing. George emphasized Zhang’s determination and adaptability to whatever Joyce brings to the rematch.

Zhang also shared his thoughts on a recent heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois. The fight stirred controversy due to a disputed punch that knocked down Usyk, which was ruled a low blow by referee Luis Pabon. Zhang sympathized more with Usyk’s situation and criticized Dubois for not capitalizing on the opportunity to press his advantage.

“I watched the fight and that punch was a little bit low. It landed below Usyk’s navel. After the fight resumed, Dubois did not use his physical advantages and Usyk was able to regain his rhythm. Dubois basically quit. I think Dubois needs to work on his heart.”

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