Joe Joyce targets second Zhilei Zhang showdown after activating rematch clause

British heavyweight Joe Joyce intends to jump straight back in with Chinese fighter Zhilei Zhang after activating his rematch clause.

Joyce’s hopes of a world title showdown against either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk suffered a major setback when the Londoner was stopped in the sixth round by Zhang at the Copper Box Arena last month.

It was a first professional defeat after 15 straight wins for Joyce, whose right eye was almost swollen shut, which led to the bout being waved off after he was twice inspected by a ringside doctor.

Despite being outclassed by Zhang first time around, Joyce wants to immediately correct the record.

“Rematch clause activated. Taking back what’s mine,” the 37-year-old wrote on Twitter.

Zhang claimed Joyce’s WBO interim title and with it the mandatory position to face the sanctioning body’s full champion Usyk, who also holds the WBA and IBF belts in boxing’s blue riband division.

However, the WBA and IBF mandatories – Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic respectively – take precedent, which may have left Zhang waiting for his shot for at least a year.

Zhang was rumoured to be in talks for a showdown with Tyson Fury, but a return bout against Joyce, which could take place in China, now looks the likeliest option.