Zhilei Zhang offers to fight Anthony Joshua before the end of the year


Zhang ready to offer Joshua an option in December (Picture: Getty)

Zhelei Zhang is ready to fight Anthony Joshua in a huge heavyweight showdown to close out the year.

The Chinese heavyweight secured two devastating knockout victories over Joe Joyce this year, becoming the mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO title in the process.

He remains in a holding pattern at the top of the heavyweight division, however, with the undisputed fight between IBF, WBO and WBA champion Usyk and WBC king Tyson Fury, now set to take place early next year, taking precedence.

Joshua meanwhile had hoped to secure a long-awaited meeting with Deontay Wilder before the end of 2023, having racked up wins against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius.

Those plans have hit a stumbling block however with promoter Eddie Hearn now seeking an alternative location after a deal for Saudi Arabia to host the fight stalled.

That fight may have to wait until later in 2024 but Joshua remains determined to fight one more time this year or in early January.

Joshua and Zhang have history having clashed as amateurs in the quarter-finals of the London 2012 Olympics with ‘AJ’ beating him on points before clinching the gold medal in the capital. Over a decade later, the Chinese heavyweight would welcome the chance of revenge.

Joshua and Zhang met back at the 2012 Olympics (Picture: Getty)

‘That is definitely an option for me,’ Zhang told Metro.co.uk via FreeBets.com. ‘You heard Anthony saying there are options out there, but is he serious? Send the contract over and if everything looks good I’ll sign it right away.’

With Fury and Usyk – and their world titles – tied up for the foreseeable future, Zhang is eager to take on top names like Joshua and Wilder. But should those fights not materialise he will also welcome challenges from those around the fringes of the world title scene including British duo Daniel Dubois and Derek Chisora.

‘Right now, we’re still looking to see what happens with the unification, because the unification overrides everything,’ Zhang said.

‘We’re still looking to see what happens with that. But with that done, and it’s out of the way then definitely I will exercise my mandatory challenger position.’

He continued: ‘The options are open and still out there. But for me and my team, we’re looking at the top names. We’re looking at Fury, Usyk, Joshua, Wilder.

‘However, if those guys don’t want to accept my challenge or run away from me, that’s a different story. Then we go to boxers like Parker, Ortiz, Chisora, Dubois.

‘Everything is possible, I’m not scared of fighting anyone. My target right now is for the bigger names.’

MORE : Eddie Hearn says Francis Ngannou was ‘robbed’ and Anthony Joshua ends Tyson Fury’s career

MORE : Tyson Fury no longer represents heavyweight boxing after ‘shameful’ performance against Francis Ngannou, says Zhilei Zhang

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