Joe Joyce still haunted by drastic end to winning streak vs Zhilei Zhang…and blames supplement for sluggish showing

JOE JOYCE remains haunted by the drastic end to his winning streak but already has his recovered eye on a comeback party.

The 38-year-old Putney Juggernaut was six years and 15 fights into his undefeated professional run when he encountered Zhilei Zhang in April and was stopped after six rounds by a gruesome eye injury.

GettyIt took Joe Joyce a couple of weeks to get over the defeat to Zhilei Zhang[/caption]

The usual post-fight changing-room shindig was swapped out for a long night in the hospital where a cracked cheekbone was confirmed.

And the deep-thinking fine art graduate admits the dark moments are never far away and Saturday night’s rematch is needed for a fresh canvas.

“It took me a couple of weeks to get over it,” he said. “Not constantly but every now-and-then I have thoughts about it. 

“It’s a very different environment when you lose a fight, compared to when you win one.

“It’s annoying, every once in a while you’re reminded that you lost a fight and I realise now how much I prefer the feeling of winning, especially the reactions of friends and fans after the fight.

“I had to take my mind off things and get out in nature, on my one-wheel skateboard, I went to see family and friends. 

“I reviewed the footage and saw where I went wrong. I spoke to a lot of people who gave me good advice. There’s plenty to improve and that’s what I have done.”

Baffling, after 18 minutes of suffering stiff right jabs, shuddering long left backhands and whipped right hooks, Joyce was still about to make jokes in his post-fight interview.


A swollen purple eye and broken septum had not snapped his spirit but it smashed the idea that Joyce is too tough to be beaten.

And ‘Big Bang’ Zhang has already promised to focus all of his attention and power on that vulnerable right peeper.

But star student Joyce insists he is ready to make amends, he said: “I wasn’t massively hurt, I did my usual cool down and then started to feel all the bumps and bruises but I wasn’t hurt apart from the eye swelling which went down within a week.

“I had a minor fracture in my septum but other than that I was in good shape.

ReutersJoyce will fight Zhang on Saturday[/caption]

“Even in the fight I wanted to continue, I could see the fingers that the doctor held up as a test but he stopped it and I live to fight another day. 

“I could have carried on but then it might have got stopped later, with more damage to the eye, so it’s better to regroup and go again.”

Joyce accidentally lost a stone for the bout, he looked ripped and ready on the Friday scales but was sluggish in the Copper Box ring.

A new ingredient in a sports supplement was to blame but the powerhouse has promised to return to his hulking best for the Wembley rerun.

“I was too light and Zhang was heavier and stronger on the night,” he said.

“I have made minor adjustments, made sure I am eating right and enough.

“I started that last camp on my usual fight weight so it was hard to keep it on in the training camp. That won’t happen again.”

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