Zhilei Zhang will continue to fight under Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions for the foreseeable future, even if a rematch with Joe Joyce is not necessarily next.
Chinese heavyweight contender Zhang sprung a surprise upset over Joyce last Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena in London, when he forced referee Howard Foster to stop the fight at 1:23 of the sixth round when it became clear that Joyce could not continue because of the swelling around his right eye.
The win was easily the most significant win in the career of the 39-year-old Zhang, especially coming off what was a highly disputed loss to Croatian contender Filip Hrgovic in their bout last August.
Joyce, who is backed by Queensberry, has an exclusive right to a rematch with Zhang, but he may not necessarily invoke it straightaway. Nevertheless, according to one of Zhang’s advisors, “Big Bang” will fight in a Queensberry-promoted event for the foreseeable future, as the British promoter has contractual options on him.
“Definitely we’re working with them again,” Terry Lane, co-manager of Zhang, said of Queensberry and Zhang in an interview with iFL TV. “We were treated very well. We’re coming back. Thank you to the Warrens and all the team. We’re coming back.
“It’s in the contract,” Lane said of the rematch clause. “I do think we’ll see it. It doesn’t have to happen next. But I’m sure we’re going to talk to [Queensberry heads] George [Warren] and Francis [Warren] and everybody soon.”
Lane, the son of the late referee Mills Lane and who shares managerial duties for Zhang with his brother Tommy, feels the sky's the limit for their charge after the win over Joyce.
Could another Queensberry client be in their cards?
“Listen, you’re talking to the least surprised person on the planet right now,” Lane said. “This is why we wanted this fight. We felt this is what would happen. I feel like we represent the best heavyweight in the world. We want the big fights, we want [WBC heavyweight titlist] Tyson Fury but listen, we’re just wanting to do this for the fans.
“Let’s go Tyson in Wembley or something like that.”
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.