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Zhilei Zhang brutally knocks out Joe Joyce in rematch

Zhang brutally knocks out Joyce in rematch
© Reuters
Zhilei Zhang has retained his WBO interim heavyweight title with a brutal third-round knockout of Joe Joyce in their rematch in London.

Joe Joyce's hopes of challenging for the world heavyweight title have been emphatically ended by Zhilei Zhang in three rounds at Wembley Arena.

Having surprisingly lost to the Chinese fighter earlier this year in a one-sided bout where he suffered a heavily swollen eye, Joyce had hoped to retain the WBO interim title in a rematch that he opted to take.

However, the former British Olympian was never in Saturday's showdown, barely throwing a punch in the first round before Zhang began to land at will in rounds two and three.

Alarm bells would have been ringing in Joyce's camp when Zhang shook their fighter with a number of separate left hands in the second, with Joyce only offering a couple of solid body shots in reply.

The third round went along a similar path, with Joyce tentatively pawing and swinging at Zhang without any belief and being far more concerned with what was coming back at him.

Coming in 25lbs heavier than the first fight was supposedly to improve Joyce's punch resistance, yet it quickly became clear that his trademark granite chin was no more.

In the final seconds of the round, Zhang detonated with a thudding right hook, Joyce landing on the canvas face first and with the look of a man who was beaten before the referee had gotten halfway through his 10-count.

To his credit, Joyce got to his feet, but the official correctly waived off the contest, leaving Joyce - who turned 38 years of age earlier this week - with much to ponder regards his future in the sport.

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