“AJ Would Have No Problems”: Amid Ongoing Negotiations With Deontay Wilder, Eddie Hearn Contemplates Potential Bout Against Zhilei Zhang

Published 09/25/2023, 12:34 PM EDT

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Soon after he drubbed Joe Joyce again, Zhilei Zhang let the cat out of the bag. He asked the viewers whether they would like to watch him fight Tyson Fury. The ‘Big Bang’ is hungry, and last week’s emphatic victory over Joyce has undoubtedly raised the stakes for him. Officially, he stands behind Filip Hrgovic to challenge the unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk. But a change in the equation is not entirely ruled out, as Eddie Hearn updated. The Matchroom boss seemingly conjures the Chinese Heavyweight squaring up against a resurgent Anthony Joshua.

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Like Zhang, who secured two consecutive wins on the back of a defeat last year, ‘AJ’ finally seems to have found his mojo this year. He defeated Jermaine Franklin and knocked out Robert Helenius to reaffirm his stake in the big games. Fans await a fortunate stroke of serendipity that will finally see the former champion make a stand against Deontay Wilder, at least early next year.

A ‘Big Bang’ showdown appears on the horizon

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Eddie Hearn was speaking with Boxing News. He sounded sad, sharing his views on the Zhang-Joyce fight and mentioning the British boxer’s predicament. He lauded Zhang and emphasized that, though a bit slow, ‘Big Bang’ could still punch. The reporter asked if there was any interest in a match-up between Joshua and Zhang, given that fighting a southpaw gives the former a few demons he would like to conquer.

Hearn replied, “I think he’s a big fight for China. I mean, you know, um obviously, our plans is to fight, um Deontay Wilder first and foremost, but I think AJ would have no problems fighting Zhang. We’ve looked at him as an opponent before, specifically out in the uh the Far East, so we’ll have to see.

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The reporter then checked for the probability of a fight with Mahmoud Charr. The Matchroom honcho responded that he hadn’t come across any communication or negotiations with the German Heavyweight. The latter’s team reportedly approached him, but as it appears, Charr seems keen on a fight against Jarrell Miller. “…but yeah, no real, um, in-depth conversations with any opponent at this stage,” Hearn said.

Re-emergence of Anthony Joshua?

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Trouble has been brewing for Joshua since Andy Ruiz Jr. knocked him out four years ago. He regained his titles the following year. However, from Ukraine came his nemesis, who defeated him not once but twice. At his career low, questions arose from several corners about whether one of British boxing’s most recognizable faces could stage a comeback. And the Olympic gold medalist did make a return. But still, naysayers had a field day when he couldn’t stop the American Jermain Franklin early.

Nevertheless, he had the final laugh when he sent Finn Robert Helenius down the chance in the seventh round. A win against Zhilei Zhang would do more than enough to convince him that he is now ready to challenge the likes of Wilder and Fury.

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Do you think Anthony Joshua and Zhilei Zhang’s match-up is an excellent move to stir up the Heavyweight division? Please share your thoughts and views with us in the comments below.

Watch This Story: Five Potential Match-Ups for Anthony Joshua After Impressive Knockout Win Over Robert Helenius

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Written by:

Jaideep R Unnithan

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Jaideep Unnithan is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. With over 400 articles authored at ES, Jaideep has built a reputation for diving deep into stories and producing detailed reports. Jaideep's passion for the sport of boxing was ignited when his father shared his experience of watching Ali vs Frazier live in the US.
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Edited by:

Snigdhaa Jaiswal

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