Zhang admits ‘BIG MISTAKE’ with Parker and vows to BANG with Wilder

Zhilei Zhang says this time things will be different when he meets Deontay Wilder in Riyadh on June 1.

The Chinese giant’s star had never been higher when he locked horns with Joseph Parker in an eagerly-awaited WBO heavyweight final eliminator in Saudi Arabia in March.

But Zhang – coming off impressive back-to-back wins over Britain’s Joe Joyce – dropped a points decision to the Kiwi to halt his progress towards a potential world title shot.

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‘Big Bang’ scored two knockdowns, but bar that produced little as he tired significantly in the second half of the bout while Parker outworked him. He had come into the ring weighing a career-high 291lbs (20st 11lbs).

Now the 26-2-1 star admits he made ‘a big mistake’ that night, but it’s one he says he will not make against ‘The Bronze Bomber’ (43-3-1) on June 1.

Zhang on Parker loss

He told Queensberry Promotions on YouTube: “I made a big mistake underestimating Parker. I had to admit it happened. At the same time I learned a lot from that fight. We came back, we analysed every little detail and we corrected our mistakes. I believe the next fight, it’s gonna be a new me.

“We did make a few adjustments. We have a nutritionist who is helping us remotely because he’s over in the US. In my 20 days here I was remotely contacting my nutritionist and my strength and conditioning trainer.

“So head coach Shaun [George] is over there making sure everything is on point boxing wise and conditioning wise. As you can see my face is trimming down already, so the weight’s coming down. I feel a lot better but the power is still there.”

Zhilei Zhang Press Conference vs Joseph Parker Heavyweight Boxing Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Chinese heavyweight boxer Zhilei Zhang speaks at the press conference ahead of his fight vs Joseph Parker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2024 (Photo – Round n Bout Media/Queensberry Promotions).

Wilder prediction

While the 41-year-old Zhang had really struggled against Parker, Wilder is in the same boat having dropped a wide-margin decision to Joseph back in December.

Zhang gives credit to Parker for defusing that massive ‘Bronze Bomber’ right hand that night, but it doesn’t look like he’s planning a similar strategy. He predicts a short night on June when these two heavyweight giants lock horns on that Eddie Hearn vs Frank Warren 5 on 5 show (live on DAZN PPV).

“I don’t think this fight goes the distance because when Chinese power and Alabama power, we’re gonna bang the hell out of each other and this fight is not gonna go the distance.

“I give it to Parker he was a very smart fighter. As we all know, Wilder has this big big power hand, the right hand, but he was not able to find Parker with that right hand. Credit to Parker, he’s a very smart fighter, he controlled the whole rhythm of that fight.”

YouTube video