Zhilei Zhang Fails to Beat Jerry Forrest – Anthony Joshua Fight Hopes in Tatters

Published 02/27/2021, 9:37 PM EST


Chinese heavyweight sensation, Zhilei Zhang, faced a tremendous obstacle on his journey to face his old rival, Anthony Joshua. The undefeated boxer drew against Jerry Forrest with a scorecard of 95-93, 93-93, and 93-93 on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim undercard.

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The 37-year-old took on the 32-year-old Forrest in what many expected to be a routine victory for the Chinese pugilist. Instead, Zhang could not finish the tough American and allowed him to claw his way back to earn a majority draw.

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Zhang dominated the early exchanges of the fight despite a fast start from Forrest. The 6’6” Chinese pugilist knocked down the American thrice in the first three rounds. Although ‘Big Bang’ dominated the early rounds, the determined Forrest came back in the later rounds.

Zhang had gassed out by the third round and could not keep up the pace he set in the start. As a result, Forrest fought back by targeting the body and achieved a lot of success. Moreover, the referee deducted a point from Zhang for holding the American in a headlock on multiple occasions.

Ultimately, this was the defining point in the fight since the judges’ scorecards revealed it was very close. Had Zhang not got the deduction, he would have won via a split decision.

 READ: What Does Anthony Joshua Eat For His Amazing physique

What does this mean for Zhilei Zhang vs. Anthony Joshua?

Before the fight, the undefeated Chinese heavyweight expressed his desire to take on the Englishman in his home country in front of 100,000 fans. However, it is unlikely that the heavyweight will get that fight on the back of this performance.

Unfortunately for ‘Big Bang’ Zhang, he is still not ready to face ‘AJ’ as his latest fight against Forrest exposed flaws in his game. He had Forrest on his last legs in the first three rounds, but couldn’t capitalize or end proceedings. Moreover, he showed signs of fatigue after those first three rounds.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 06: Anthony Joshua laughs during the press conference for Andy Ruiz Jr. v Anthony Joshua 2 ‘Clash on the Dunes’ at the Hilton Syon Park on September 06, 2019 in London, England. Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will have a Heavyweight World Title rematch fight on December 7th 2019 in the historical town of Diriyah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

In terms of ability, Zhang relies heavily on his one-punch knockout power. He struggled when Forrest found a rhythm and outboxed him in the later rounds. This is something top fighters like Anthony Joshua can exploit with ease.

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The heavyweight division is one of the most exciting in the sport, and Zhang certainly added to that excitement. However, he still has to work his way up by boxing the other top fighters on the fringes of the heavyweight title.

What did you make of Zhilei Zhang and his performance? Do you think he can beat Anthony Joshua as he suggests?

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READ: Canelo Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim- Fight Analysis and Prediction

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Leonardo Carvalho

863 articles

Leonardo Carvalho is a Boxing Writer for EssentiallySports. Before working as a boxing web journalist, Leonardo dabbled in roles ranging from an SEO specialist to a Chegg expert. Alongside his current role, Leonardo runs a YouTube channel where he combines his passion for fitness with sports.

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