Zhilei Zhang Vows to Make Oleksandr Usyk “Sleep Early” if They Fight

Published 11/11/2023, 6:41 AM EST

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In the world of heavyweight boxing, where punches speak louder than words, a new voice has emerged, resonating with unusual confidence. Imagine a scenario where David confidently taunts Goliath, a scene unfolding not in biblical times, but in today’s boxing ring. This isn’t your typical bravado from an up-and-comer; it’s a declaration from a seasoned fighter, Zhilei Zhang. Fresh off a victory that silenced many skeptics, Zhang now eyes a larger, more formidable target.

He’s not just throwing punches in the ring, but also throwing down a gauntlet of words. His target? None other than the reigning unified Heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk. But what could Zhang, a fighter known more for his fists than his phrases, possibly say to rattle a champion like Usyk?

From Joyce’s downfall to Usyk’s challenge: Zhang’s dominating rise


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Zhilei Zhang, fresh from his dominating victory over Joe Joyce, has turned his sights towards a more formidable adversary. In their recent rematch, Zhang showcased his overpowering strength, knocking out Joyce in a display of sheer dominance. This victory not only solidified his position in the heavyweight landscape but also fueled his confidence. Consequently, Zhang boldly steps onto a larger stage, challenging the current unified Heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk.

In a statement that resonated through the boxing community, Zhang declared, “He [Usyk] is moving up from a Cruiserweight, and right now he is still a Cruiserweight. So if we share the ring, he is going to sleep early.” This proclamation, shared by IFL TV on Twitter, captures Zhang’s unwavering belief in his prowess. It reflects not just a challenge, but a promise of triumph, a testament to his readiness to face and conquer giants in the heavyweight division.

Moreover, Zhang’s words carry the weight of his recent triumphs. His knockout of Joyce wasn’t just a win; it was a statement. Now, aiming at Usyk, Zhang stands not as an underdog, but as a force to be reckoned with, a warrior confident in his ability to bring even champions to their knees.

Zhilei Zhang ready to school ‘Novice Boxer’ Francis Ngannou

Zhilei Zhang, coming off a decisive victory over Joe Joyce, is also eyeing a new challenge in the form of Francis Ngannou, a figure emerging from the MMA world into boxing. In a recent interview with Boxing News, Zhang didn’t mince words, labeling Ngannou a “novice boxer.” He expressed eagerness for the potential matchup, stating, “Yeah, I think if that opportunity comes, I’ll definitely take it and I’ll grab it.”


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Zhang’s confidence is sky-high as he aims to demonstrate the gap between a seasoned boxer and a crossover athlete. “No matter how you look at the performance last night. He’s a novice. And I want to get in there to show him what really a professional boxing boss looks like,” Zhang asserted, setting the stage for a compelling clash of worlds.

Also Read: Zhilei Zhang Wants to Dethrone Anthony Joshua Infront of 100,000 Chinese Fans


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From his commanding victory over Joe Joyce to his audacious challenges to Usyk and now Francis Ngannou, Zhang is not just fighting opponents. He’s battling for recognition and respect in a fiercely competitive arena. What do you think of Zhang’s bold assertions and prospects against seasoned boxers and crossover athletes like Ngannou? Are we witnessing the rise of a new heavyweight titan, or will these high-stakes challenges prove too ambitious?

Watch This Story: Zhilei Zhang Intense Training Routine for Joe Joyce Rematch


Written by:

Mrinal Mishra


One take at a time

Mrinal Mishra is a Boxing Writer at EssentiallySports. With over 800+ articles published on ES, Mrinal is known for his extensive coverage of live events, including the recent Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo fight.
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Edited by:

Snigdhaa Jaiswal