Zhilei Zhang produced one of the finest performances by an overseas heavyweight in a British ring for many years to stop Joe Joyce in the sixth round.
The Chinese southpaw, who is on the cusp of turning 40, pummeled Joyce with his left from the opening round until the referee decided there was no point in allowing the fight to go on.
Zhilei Zhang boxed beautifully, leaving Joyce with a badly damaged right eye, which forced the referee to stop the fight. Joyce, who was previously undefeated, was left reeling by Zhang's fierce punches and had no answer to his opponent's skill and strength.
Zhang became the new WBO interim heavyweight champion as a result of this upset victory, and his triumph is one that will live long in the memory of boxing fans. The Chinese boxer had expressed his desire to go for the title and with this impressive win, it seems like he is very close to achieving that dream.
Speaking after the fight, Zhang said, “Today is mine. It belongs to every Chinese person who showed up. I’m 39, but I’m disciplined and I train hard. My next step is to go for the title.”
This was a remarkable performance from Zhang, who made a bright start while Joyce was sluggish in the opener. After a tentative opening 30 seconds, Zhang began to find a home for his left hand, which he used to devastating effect throughout the fight.
Joyce, who is known for his toughness and resilience, was unable to withstand Zhang's barrage of punches, and the fight was stopped after 1:23 of the sixth round.
It was a clear victory for Zhang, and one that we are sure will have boxing fans eagerly awaiting his next fight.
Zhilei Zhang has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. His hard work, determination and skill have paid off, and we can't wait to see what he does next.