Zhang vs Vargas: Chinese star dreams of Joshua clash

Chinese heavyweight star Zhilei Zhang is dreaming of settling a score with Anthony Joshua as he prepares for his big Matchroom debut on Saturday night.

The 37-year-old Zhang takes on Ohio’s Devin Vargas (22-6) in Hollywood, Florida on Saturday (live on DAZN) – but is already looking further ahead.

Zhang, who has built a 21-0 record despite not facing true world-class opposition as yet, lost to Joshua in the 2012 London Olympics. AJ of course would go on to take gold. Zhang himself had claimed silver in Beijing in 2008.

Now the man they call ‘Big Bang’ is hoping that the increased spotlight of fighting under the Matchroom banner and on DAZN in the United States will help him move in on a world-title shot.

Zhang vs Vargas: ‘Big Bang’ Zhang’s title dream

He said: “My dream is to become heavyweight champion and Joshua is holding most of the belts. I believe that this dream is going to come true very soon.”

He had a message for Joshua meanwhile, saying: “Wait for me. We have unfinished business, hope to see you soon.”

The 38-year-old Vargas has been in with top-class opposition including Andy Ruiz Jr, Dominic Breazeale and Junior Fa (taking Fa to the scorecards in November 2019).

And Zhang is not expecting a pushover on Saturday night.

“Vargas is a veteran; he’s been in the ring with some of the toughest boxers and I give him a lot of respect,” he said.

“It’s a pleasure to keep him and on Saturday we’ll see each other in the ring.”

Vargas meanwhile has a gameplan ready for the giant Zhang, who stands 6ft 6ins tall.

“You work his body. Big guys can’t take pressure and a high work rate. I’m going to box him and throw a lot of punches – I like to average 60-80 punches a round.

“All those opponents I’ve faced have gone on to do great things. I was always there at the doorstop of being great, but I think I can capitalize on this fight.”

Zhang vs Vargas, along with another fascinating heavyweight fight in Filip Hrgovic (11-0) vs Rydell Booker (26-3), are part of a DAZN card topped by Devin Haney’s. WBC world lightweight title defence against Yuriorkis Gamboa.