Zhilei Zhang delivered a destinating third-round knock-out to win his WBO interim heavyweight title rematch against Joe Joyce at Wembley Arena.
Joyce had been mandatory for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO heavyweight belt before he lost for the first time in the pro ranks to Zhang in April. The contest was stopped in the sixth round, with Joyce’s right eye badly swollen.
Southpaw Zhang had told the Englishman he was back to end his career and could well have proved true to his words with another chastening defeat for the ‘Juggernaut’, who now faces questions over where he goes from here.
Zhang used his moment of glory to call out Tyson Fury.
He said in his ring-side interview: “To the audience, I want to ask you a question: Do you want to see me shut Tyson Fury up?”
On his performance, he added: “I am happy. Like I said before the fight, it is going to end sooner than the first fight and I did it. Joe, hell of a fighter, respect to him. I like him and respect him, everybody please care for him.”
It was a cagey opening to the rematch, with both men content to find their range without trying to commit too much.
Zhang, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, was first to land a telling blow in the second round, rocking Joyce with a big left hand before catching the Englishman again with another hook which sent him onto the ropes before the bell.
It remained one-way traffic in the third, Zhang also working the body as Joyce failed to find any response.
Zhang worked Joyce with the left before he delivered the knock-out blow with a powerful right hook which sent Joyce to the canvas – and could well end his hopes in the heavyweight division.
On the undercard, Ilford boxer Anthony Yarde stopped Portugal’s Jorge Silva in the second round to make an impressive return in his first fight since defeat by unified light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
Dubliner Pierce O’Leary retained the WBC international super-lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Manchester’s Kane Gardner.
Heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma, 18, produced a blistering first-round knock-out of Amine Boucetta for his fifth straight professional win.