Dillian Whyte was anticipating your typical run-of-the-mill showing by Joe Joyce. With the former Olympic silver medalist wiping out countless top contenders and former champions, Whyte was convinced that Joyce would have little to no trouble with Zhilei Zhang.
Officially, the two squared off in the main event slot this past weekend with Joyce placing his WBO interim heavyweight title on the line. Although most were expecting a pragmatic result, the gigantic Chinese native would hear none of it.
After being told that Joyce’s chin was practically indestructible, Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs) quickly tested that theory. In the opening round, like always, Joyce plowed ahead, using his widely exposed chin as his number one defensive weapon. Although his ability to take a punch has always been lauded, the freakishly large contender was taken aback by the nuclear power of Zhang.
With his jaw agape, Whyte continually rubbed his eyes as Zhang pounded his man round after round. In the sixth, and presumably down on the scorecards, Joyce (15-1, 10 KOs) was closely examined by the ringside physician. Shortly after, it was determined that due to his right eye being virtually closed shut, he was unable to continue.
In addition to team Joyce being apoplectic with the final result, Whyte was none too pleased with what he saw. Though it was under the radar, Whyte revealed that he was secretly rooting for Joyce to get the job done.
“I’m pissed because I wanted a [Joyce] fight,” said Whyte to iFL TV.
With Joyce no longer a viable option, Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) will now move forward with his career. After falling flat on his face in his bid to win a world title against Tyson Fury last year, Whyte bounced back with a somewhat controversial win vs. Jermaine Franklin.
Still, regardless of Whyte jumping back into the win column, Joyce, before his recent shortcomings, stood ahead of Whyte in the title queue.
Throughout his dominant run, Joyce created a dystopia for his foes. But while he mostly found a way to take care of business before the sound of the final bell, Joyce’s biggest attribute was his ability to take a shot and keep on chugging. Ultimately, his granite chin finally failed him. As referee Howard Foster waved off the proceedings, Whyte’s incredulous look became more and more apparent.
With the shock of Joyce’s defeat wearing off, Whyte acknowledged that the manner in which his heavyweight contemporary normally fights, his downfall was bound to happen sooner rather than later.
“It’s heavyweight boxing. If you keep taking shots, it’s only a matter of time before the shots catch up with you.”