Lethargic Zhilei Zhang loses by decision against Joseph Parker

A lethargic Zhilei Zhang loses by decision against Joseph Parker at the Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, whose work-rate was abysmal in the second half.

Firstly, it looked like Zhang could take out Parker when ever he wanted, dropping Parker in two instances: one with a left-cross, the other a right-hook.

Zhang is incredibly powerful, but isn’t known for his conditioning; astonishingly, this performance was abnormal, even for Zhang’s standards.

The work-rate from Zhang was conservative from the start, he was walking down Parker and throwing the odd punch, but not working combinations besides two-punches at a time.

Parker saw this and began to up the pace, winning round after round in the second half, after the knockdown which occurred in round 3.

Parker was knocked down again in the eighth round from a right-hook.

I don’t think the fight was too close either, I certainly concede that Parker was up on the scorecards, but I don’t understand why Zhang’s work-rate was so low.

Someone had also commented on Instagram, wondering if Zhang had injured himself (his left hand) during the fight, this could offer an explanation.

Zhang is known to slow down as the fight goes on; with that being said, his work-rate against Hrgovic and Joyce in both fights, was much higher per-round.

An important point to note, was that the Hrgovic fight was very competitive, with both boxers landing bombs on each other for 12 rounds.

I simply don’t believe this was a stamina issue, but he did come in heavier than average; Zhang weighed-in at 291Ibs.

A Zhang TKO was one of my predictions in a list of 3, that I had published on X:

Final Thoughts

Finally, what is next for both fighters? I expect that the rematch clause will be activated, so we could see Zhang and Parker face each other again later this year.

It wasn’t an exciting fight, but I would like to see a conclusive result myself, and strongly believe that Zhang could get the TKO/KO.

If Parker wins the rematch, then he’s back in title contention; however, Anthony Joshua will likely want to fight the winner of Usyk vs Fury.

I do believe there will be two Usyk vs Fury fights, irrespective of the outcome of the first fight, this means there will be a wait.

Joshua could fight Hrgovic during the interim, Parker could also fight Hrgovic himself, or have a rematch with Anthony Joshua with the titles or without.

I expect that Zhang will want to take the rematch, perhaps he wasn’t in the right frame of mind. There have also been rumours that boxing wasn’t his choice initially.

It could very well be that Zhang doesn’t want to fight, where that leaves his career will be down to Zhang and his team.

I would like to give more credit to Parker for this win, but this fight has left a sour taste in my mouth as it looked like Zhang could have stopped this fight anytime he wanted to.

 

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