ZHILEI ZHANG wasn’t stunned when he heard that Anthony Joshua’s subsequent opponent will likely be Francis Ngannou.
The Chinese language heavyweight was one of many names linked with Joshua following the Brit’s one-sided win over Otto Wallin and likewise Joseph Parker’s dominant win over Deontay Wilder, Joshua’s proposed subsequent opponent, final month.
On Friday (January 5), nonetheless, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn introduced on X (Twitter) that his star man would face Ngannou in Riydah, Saudi Arabia. It is going to be the second skilled combat for the previous UFC Heavyweight champion having pushed Tyson Fury all the best way on October 28.
“You’ll be able to’t assist [but] assume what is going on to boxing proper now,” Zhang stated when talking to Boxing Information.
“My workforce approached them [Joshua’s team]. We had this dialog after which subsequent factor you already know he’s preventing Ngannou.
“I can’t actually say I’m upset,” he continued. “It’s a matter of private alternative. Whenever you take a look at Ngannou, he’s any individual from a unique sport. Unexpectedly he’s the money cow. All people thinks if I have been to combat Ngannou I’ll make a ton of cash. What’s boxing on the finish of the day? Is it a enterprise or is it a aggressive sport? That’s the query.”
Zhang, in the meantime, can take consolation from the truth that in 2023 he was one of many heavyweight division’s shining lights. His two victories over Joe Joyce, each ending properly inside the space, proved that the 40-year-old is a drive to be reckoned with. And Zhang informed BN he’s “cautiously optimistic” about making his return on the Joshua-Ngannou undercard.
In fact, Joshua-Zhang would have made for a much more interesting prospect for March than Joshua-Ngannou. However Zhang, who Eddie Hearn used to advertise, by no means had excessive hopes he would get the chance to tackle the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist.
“I by no means thought this combat could be made,” Zhang stated. “I believe there’s another individual, Eddie Hearn, who won’t let Anthony Joshua combat me. It’s an excessive amount of of a danger. Once I signed with Matchroom a few years in the past that was one of many conversations we had. My administration workforce flew to London and sat down with all people to speak about it. It’s been years since that, and this combat by no means materialised. They know learn how to efficiently keep away from this.”