Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom does not see heavyweight contender Joe Joyce becoming an "elite" level fighter in the weight class. 

This past Saturday night at the Copper Box in London, Joyce suffered the first defeat of his career when he was stopped in six rounds by Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang.

Joyce was nailed by left hands throughout the fight, which closed up his right eye and eventually prompted the ringside doctor to stop the fight.

Joyce was highly regarded for his ability to walk through big punches to wear down his opponents. 

Hearn could see Joyce retiring from the sport - due to the punishment that he's taken over the years.

Joyce does have the option of an immediate rematch with Zhang, but it's not clear if he intends to exercise that option.

“The reality is, Joe Joyce has never boxed an elite heavyweight. Zhilei Zhang is not an elite heavyweight. Joe wasn’t good enough to deal with Zhilei Zhang. When you sell your attributes based on 'you can hit me as hard as you like, and I’ll keep coming' – that’s not the recipe for longevity in a career…

“He gets hit by absolutely everything, Joe Joyce. I would understand if he retired from boxing. He’s taken unbelievable punishment in sparring, in amateur tournaments and even in the professional code and it was really uncomfortable watching that on Saturday. If you can’t beat Zhilei Zhang, you have absolutely no chance of winning a world heavyweight title, no chance. If Oleksandr Usyk had boxed Joyce on Saturday night it would’ve been one of the greatest mismatches of all time.

“If Zhilei Zhang is doing that to him, Usyk would have absolutely peppered him. The reality is Joe Joyce is not an elite heavyweight and you can talk about ‘Oh he’d steamroll Anthony Joshua’, do you know the speed of AJ compare to Zhang? AJ would ping him absolutely everywhere. Joe has got a massive decision now, because if he doesn’t rematch Zhang, he should retire.”