Joe Joyce weighed 25 pounds more in his decisive rematch with Zhilei Zhang this weekend than in his last fight.
Britain’s Joyce is seeking revenge against Zhang after he was defeated by his opponent with a badly swollen eye and the referee stopped the fight in the sixth round in London.
For the 38-year-old it was the first defeat in his professional career and the first defense of his WBO interim title. After everything didn’t go according to plan in April of this year, he promised to get back on his feet.
He will get a chance for revenge in Saturday’s rematch at Wembley Stadium, despite Zhang Joyce warning he is ready to end his career in his home country.
Joyce is prepared, however, tipping the scales at a surprising 281 pounds for the fight, leaving some unpredictability as to how he will handle the southpaw.
Joe Joyce (pictured) has gained 25 pounds for his second fight with Zhilei Zhang tomorrow night
The Brit will face Zhang (left) for the second time this year after being stopped in April
Joyce weighed 256 pounds (left) in the first fight, but now he’s back on the scales at that weight and more for Saturday’s fight
The weight is also a career high for Joyce, whose heaviest weight in his career to date was 271 pounds.
Joyce told Mailsport exclusively about the reason for his weight loss in the previous fight, which made him feel uncomfortable compared to his previous victories that saw him rise in the rankings.
Before his first fight with Zhang in April, he lost weight drastically, being a stone lighter than in his previous fight.
Joyce, a silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics, weighed 256 pounds for his heavyweight bout with the 40-year-old, while Zhang tipped the scales at 278 pounds for the bout.
This time, the Chinese star weighed 287.2 pounds and also gained a lot of weight for the fight.
“No, there wasn’t [a reason behind coming in much lighter than his previous fight]Joyce told Mail Sport. “I had a preparatory camp before Christmas, which was a three-week training camp. That went well and over Christmas I didn’t eat badly and was active, so by the time I went to camp I was already at fighting weight.
“Then I obviously lost even more weight from the training I did.” It was also pretty hard to eat considering how late my sessions ended. It was hard to keep the weight up.
“Usually Salas would like my weight to be lower, but for Zhang, who is a big heavyweight, it was probably too low.” I don’t know, if I had won the fight and had good leg and head movement and beat him, people wouldn’t criticize my weight.’
Joyce was stopped in the sixth round in London in April after suffering a swollen eye in the fight
Joyce told Mail Sport he turned down a £10,000-a-round sparring session with Tyson Fury (pictured) to prepare for the rematch
Meanwhile, Joyce has revealed he turned down a sparring session with world champion Tyson Fury because the Gypsy King wanted £10,000 a round.
Fury appears to have taken a step back from defending his world title and is currently preparing for a cross-sport match with UFC legend Francis Ngannou.
But he’s willing to stay busy in the meantime, offering to spar with Joyce to help him prepare for Zhang this weekend.
“No, I wouldn’t rest him for a number of reasons,” Joyce told Mail Sport. “Firstly, it’s overpriced.” £10,000 a round isn’t really worth it. And secondly, I’ve already trained him.’