WBO's Zhilei Zhang Criticizes Usyk, Eyes Showdown for Chinese Pride
In the ever-evolving landscape of heavyweight boxing, the outspoken WBO number 1 ranked fighter and interim heavyweight champion, Zhilei Zhang, is making headlines with his critical stance on Oleksandr Usyk. Zhang, who holds victories over Joe Joyce, claims that Usyk’s accomplishments are overrated, suggesting that his best win was against a “declining Anthony Joshua.”
While acknowledging Usyk’s three belts and the difficulty of moving up from cruiserweight, Zhang questions the Ukrainian’s true standing in the heavyweight division. According to Zhang, Usyk remains unproven, and his victory over Joshua doesn’t carry the same weight as it would have during Joshua’s prime. Despite giving credit for Usyk’s achievements, Zhang confidently states, “If we share the ring, he is going to sleep early.”
Expressing a desire for a high-stakes matchup with Usyk, Zhang sees the potential bout as a significant event for China. He believes that such a fight would not only boost his country’s pride but also elevate professional boxing’s status in China. Zhang’s aspirations extend beyond personal glory, emphasizing the broader impact a showdown with Usyk could have on the sports landscape in China.
Zhang’s ambitions don’t stop at Usyk; he has also been vocal about challenging WBC ruler Tyson Fury in the past. As the WBO mandatory challenger to Usyk’s belt, Zhang positions himself strategically to face the winner of the anticipated undisputed battle, adding further intrigue to the heavyweight division.
In the midst of verbal jabs and ambitious calls for significant matchups, Zhang remains a central figure in the heavyweight narrative. As the boxing world eagerly awaits the clash between Usyk and Fury, Zhang’s outspoken comments set the stage for potential future fireworks, with Chinese pride and the WBO title on the line.