Zhilei Zhang may have to resort to “Plan C” given recent developments in the heavyweight division.

The hard-hitting southpaw heavyweight from China is coming off a rousing, definitive third-round knockout of Joe Joyce last month, a rematch of their first fight in April, which Zhang also won by stoppage.

After the fight, Zhang indicated that he wanted to glove up against WBC titlist Tyson Fury or even Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the remaining three heavyweight titles.

But those plans are not likely, as it was announced last week that Fury and Usyk had signed a contract to face each other in Saudi Arabia for the undisputed heavyweight championship in either December or January, pending the result of Fury’s Oct.28 showdown against former UFC champion Francis Ngannou.

In a recent interview, Terry Lane, a co-manager for Zhang, said that they are now looking to pursue other meaningful fights for their client. Lane hinted that there was a chance that Zhang, who trains in New Jersey, could possibly fight in America early next year.

“I don’t want to divulge too much but it’s possible we could fight in New York or Las Vegas in February,” Lane said on the YouTube channel of GFunky Boxing along with co-host David Duenez. “There could be something that happens before that, but again, we’re now at plans B and C now because our Plan A was Usyk or Fury. And now they’re tied up.”

Zhang’s other top choices are to fight either Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua, but those two former titlists are apparently still engaged in talks to fight each other.

“Just to go right into it, we want Joshua and Wilder,” Lane said. “I think those guys are still trying to make that fight. So, if they want to do that, great, whatever. If they want to fight, we’ll fight either of those guys, no problem.”

If none of those names materialize for the 40-year-old Zhang, Lane said that they would welcome a fight with a veteran such as Joseph Parker or Luis Ortiz.

“Guys like Parker or Ortiz, guys like that,” Lane said. “Again, it’s kind of a placeholder fight but Zhilei wants big names, he doesn’t want easy fights. He wants big names, the biggest names possible, to move forward. That’s just him. That’s just his personality. He doesn’t want easy wins, layups. He’s a little bit older, as we all know. He doesn’t want stay-busy fights or things like that.”

Cuba's Ortiz, 44, has not fought since dropping a decision to Andy Ruiz in September of last year.

Parker, 31, has picked up two consecutive wins since he was knocked out by Joyce last year.

Zhang is currently promoted by London-based Queensberry Promotions, which has a partnership with Las Vegas-based Top Rank. 

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing