‘The Juggernaut’ spoke about correcting the “mistakes” that saw him suffer a sixth-round TKO defeat at the Copper Box Arena in April and opted to come in 10lbs heavier than he ever had before for the rematch.
That added weight, however, looked to have proved costly at the OVO Wembley Arena. From the off, the 38-year-old was tentative, sluggish and did not look at all confident against the southpaw who gave him so many problems.
Zhang rocked Joyce early with a number of spiteful left hands in the early stages before finishing the contest with a devastating haymaker in the third round.
‘Big Bang’ retains the WBO ‘interim’ heavyweight title he won from Joyce in April and remains involved in the world title picture, albeit amid yet more stalling at the top of the division from Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
Quite where Joyce goes from here is unclear. A potential rematch with Daniel Dubois is perhaps the one tempting prospect around for him after two consecutive defeats.
Joyce should be afforded credit for taking the rematch so soon. In hindsight, however, it may have cost him his top level career.