Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Zhang Zhilei Clips Devin Vargas For Knockout in Fourth

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Zhang Zhilei announced his arrival in the heavyweight picture with a big bang.

The two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic Silver medalist made a splash in his first official fight under the Matchroom Boxing banner, scoring a 4th round knockout of Sylvania, Ohio’s Devin Vargas.

A straight left hand put Vargas down and out 0:49 into round four of their heavyweight battle of Olympians Saturday evening at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Zhilei patiently picked apart Vargas from the outset, working behind the jab before unloading the entire arsenal. The 6’6” southpaw from Zhoukou, China—who trains in Broomfield, New Jersey—stalked Vargas, whose greatest rate of activity in the opening round were the sequences where he complained of getting hit behind the head. Zhilei targeted the Ohio native’s midsection, connecting with left hands downstairs before bringing the weapon up top as Vargas was trapped in a corner.

zhilei-zhang (2)

The offensive attack from Zhilei picked up in round two, repeatedly forcing Vargas—whom represented the United States in the 2004 Athens Olympics—into the ropes through his long right jab and straight left hands. The one-sided action made its way to center ring in round three, with Zhilei pickig his spots and Vargas fighting behind a high guard with very little offense offered in return.

Zhilei emphatically closed the show in round four. Vargas left himself exposed just long enough to absorb a jab and left hand, the latter sending him to the canvas in a heap. Referee Frank Gentile reached the count of ten, with Vargas’ corner encouraging him to remain down to allow medical assistance.

Vargas falls to 22-7 (9KOs), having now lost three of his last five starts.

Zhilei advances to 22-0 (17KOs) with the win, his first of 2020. As good as it was, the sense from the heavyweight and his team is that it could have been even better.

“I felt like I was at about 60% of where I was at in training camp,” Zhilei told “The pandemic has affected everybody, so I have to do better in the ring with the opportunities I am able to get.”

The hope is to return to the ring potentially by February or even as early as January, which will allow the rising heavyweight to remain in a groove.

“This was his first fight back in a year, just two fights in two years,” Shaun George, Zhilei’s trainer and former contender told “He’s with Matchroom now, ideally we’re looking to return in February and keep fighting at that pace. I feel like he’s a contender right now, but he just needs to keep active.”

Zhilei had a 10-fight knockout streak snapped in going the 10-round distance last November. The early ending on Saturday is not so much the start of a new knockout run, but a restart on which to build.

“I know I can do better my next fight,” Zhilei insisted. “I am ready for any heavyweight Eddie Hearn and my team is ready to put in the ring with me.”

The bout served in supporting capacity to Las Vegas’ Devin Haney (24-0, 15KOs) in a lightweight title defense versus 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and former featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3, 18KOs).

Devin Haney prepares to make a splash in a vibrant lightweight division, as his appearance comes as part of an active stretch for all of the top players at 135 pounds.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by PredatorStyle on 11-08-2020

It was an absolutely beautiful knockout. Perfectly timed counter.

Comment by 1hourRun on 11-08-2020

[IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] Zhang Zhilei was punching Devin Vargas like a welterweight, good check-hook with the counter-punching, A two-handed puncher, impressive combinations, fast hands. ; works the body well. Southpaw HW, despite his age he looked very sharp. I want…

Top Headlines
Fres Oquendo Files Injunction Against WBA To Block Charr-Bryan Title Fight Jaron Ennis, Sergey Lipinets Agree To Terms For Welterweight Clash In April David Benavidez To Face Ronald Ellis In Showtime Main Event March 13 Frank Sanchez Wants Usyk, Joshua - Talks Working With Canelo Joe Joyce: Joshua Too Wary of Shots Coming at Him, I Back Fury To Win Estrada Motivated To Knock Roman Gonzalez Out, Leave No Doubt Logan Paul Insists Mayweather Fight Still On, Date Change Looms Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim - Undercard Information Chris Kongo vs. Michael McKinson Added To Povetkin-Whyte Card Jake Paul To Fight UFC Veteran, Former Bellator Champ Ben Askren On April 17 Jazza Dickens Weighs Options As Purse Bid Looms For Galahad Title Fight Rolly Romero: Sparrow Fought Like A Coward, Lucky They Stopped It When They Did Ellerbe: A Lot Of People Will Disagree, But Tank-Ryan Garcia Is Biggest Fight In Boxing Hearn Approached By Three Broadcasters, Intention is To Extend Deal With Sky Team Nakathila: The Least the WBO Should Do Is Sanction Stevenson vs Nakathila for Interim Title Kazeem Sosoye Looks To Shock Francis Chua on February 26 Berchelt: Fans Are Already Desperate To See Me and Valdez Fight Joe Joyce: Usyk Will Be Tough, I'm Fairly Confident I Can Beat Him Darren Tetley vs. Samuel Antwi on Febraury 19 MTK Card Caleb Plant: I'm The Big Dog at 168 - I'm Not Chasing Nobody! Canelo: Munguia Has Potential, But For Now I Don't Want To Face Another Mexican Salita on McGregor Defeat: There Will Be Significantly Less Interest in Boxing Return Ring City To Air 14 Shows in 2021, Migrate To Peacock Streaming Service In 2022 Reymart Gaballo-Emmanuel Rodriguez Rematch Ordered By WBC Sullivan Barrera Dropping To 168, Aims For New Opportunities Pacquiao Now Placed At +2000 To Next Land McGregor Fight Rances Barthelemy vs. All Rivera Tops FS1 Portion of Plant-Truax Card King Petitions To Make Bryan-Stiverne For WBA Title, Charr as 'Recess' Champ Julio Cesar Martinez vs. McWilliams Arroyo To Land On Canelo-Yildirim Show Lee McGregor Very Eager To Get in The Ring With Karim Guerfi Charr Cleared For Travel Visa, En Route To Florida For Title Defense Versus Bryan Stephen Fulton-Angelo Leo: Afterthoughts Keith Thurman: I Don't Know if Danny Garcia Has That Dog in Him Anymore Haney: Ryan Garcia Wants Tank Because He Thinks It’s Easier Than Fighting Me McGregor: There Are No Damn Leg Kicks In Boxing - Pacquiao Fight Was Happening Ex-NBA Guard Kendall Gill To Jake Paul: Come Fight Someone Your Own Size! Coldwell Talks Jordan Gill, Lerrone Richards, Hopey Price, More Haney: Mayweather Training Like He's Fighting a Top Welterweight Warren: Herring-Frampton Is the Kind Of Fight We Like, A Tough, 50/50 Fight Calvin McCord Discusses Career, Future Ambitions, More
Latest Forum Threads