Joe Joyce has triggered the rematch clause in his contract to force a second fight with Zhilei Zhang – to potentially wreck Tyson Fury’s plans.
The British heavyweight was stopped by the Chinese fighter last month in an upset loss after he was pulled out due to an eye injury. Joyce put his WBO ‘interim’ title on the line but had a rematch clause in his contract.
The Putney puncher has now decided to take that option, despite hopes for Zhang to fight WBC champion Fury this summer. Bob Arum, who is Fury’s US-based promoter alongside Frank Warren here in the UK, revealed over the weekend that talks were ongoing for the Gypsy King to face Zhang.
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But Joyce has now put a stumbling block in front of that fight happening as he plots his revenge against Zhang for taking his unbeaten record and a world title shot.
Fury’s compatriot can ask for the fight next or he can allow Zhang to have another fight first. The rematch clause is that Joyce can face Zhang in either of his next two outings.
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The Chinese fighter’s team were hoping that their man’s shock win over Joyce would lead to a summer showdown with Fury. They even wanted to bring the Gypsy King to China for a massive show in the Far East. But it is understood any discussions were actually for a UK stadium fight this summer.
Now it remains to be seen what will happen after Joyce opted to trigger the rematch clause.
Fury is set to be offered a fight against WBA, IBF and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in December by Saudi Arabia. But his team remain in the dark on that as no negotiations have even begun, despite claims to the contrary.
Fury’s team are eager for him to fight in the summer first anyway as he’s been out of action since a one-sided win over Derek Chisora back in December.
The Morecambe-based fighter is in training but has yet to start a proper camp as he awaits news on his next move. Andy Ruiz Jnr is another name who has been linked with a Fury fight this summer.
Deontay Wilder is set to take on Anthony Joshua in December, too. But, like Fury, Joshua is expected to be in action this summer first.
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