Zhilei Zhang knows every move Joseph Parker makes, Chinese heavyweight boxing hero confident of resounding victory

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — In recent months, fight fans have been treated to some excellent matchups at heavyweight, and the trend continues when Chinese powerhouse Zhilei Zhang takes on former WBO titleholder Joseph Parker at the Kingdom Arena.

The 12-round bout serves as chief support ahead of the Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou showdown and will be broadcast by DAZN in the U.S.

The last time fans saw Zhang, the colossal lefty was ripping the wheels off Joe “The Juggernaut” Joyce and throwing what was left in a car crusher. A TKO 6 win in April of last year was followed by a spectacular third-round knockout in September.

WATCH: Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou, exclusively live on DAZN

The quick-moving Parker is a completely different style from Joyce. However, the man known as “Big Bang” has prepared diligently at his training base in New Jersey and his confidence is sky-high.

“After the fight was announced, we were in training camp and studied every move he makes,” Zhang told The Sporting News via a translator. “I believe that our training camp has been very well organised.

“We have sparring partners who fight just like Joseph Parker, so I can get used to fight mode and what it feels like. I believe I know everything that he brings to the table and we’ll have an answer for him.”

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Not only is Parker a world-rated contender, but the New Zealand-born boxer-puncher is coming off a career-best triumph over former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in December.

It was a result that sent shockwaves through the division but, while Zhang was impressed by Parker, he was not surprised by the outcome.

“Parker fought a great fight. He had a great strategy and game plan,” he said. “He was doing everything; he was a free man in the ring, dancing around and doing anything he wanted. I predicted that he would win in 12 rounds before the fight.

“If you look at Wilder, he’d fought one round in two years and that’s a huge amount of inactivity, which showed up in the performance. He couldn’t find himself or get rhythm in the ring.”

MORE: Parker at his best ever, aims to replicate Wilder performance against Chinese giant Zhang

There’s a train of thought that Zhang defeating Parker conqueror Joyce twice last year means that the Chinese star will be too much for Parker. The cliched response is that “styles make fights” and that’s very true.

However, this adage also applies to Parker and his win over Wilder. Parker looked dazzling that night, but while Zhang is approximately the same height as “The Bronze Bomber”, he’s over 60 pounds heavier, fights as a southpaw and is much better at disguising his offense.

For that reason, Zhang is unfazed by Parker’s excellent form coming into Friday’s bout.

“There is only one Zhilei Zhang in this world… he is unique,” said the interim WBO champ.


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