Zhang Zhilei signs for Hearn and Matchroom

Unbeaten Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei has signed a promotional contract with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

Zhang – who is now 37 years of age – joins Matchroom with a 21-0 professional record including 16 victories inside distance.

The former amateur standout is currently ranked 11 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and 12 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Known as ‘Big Bang’, Zhang has not been seen out since November 2019 when he won a unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko in Monaco.

He said: “I’m very happy to enter into an agreement with Matchroom. They are one of the best promoters in the world.

“I’m the best heavyweight coming out of China. I just need an opportunity to become the best in the world which I strongly believe that Matchroom is able to provide. With each of us focused on our part, I wish a happy and successful future together.”

Hearn meanwhile is hoping to get Zhang back in action in November, and will then step him up to elite level and hopefully get in position for a world-title shot down the line.

He said: “The heavyweight scene couldn’t be any hotter right now, so this is the perfect time for Zhang to get back into action and throw his name into the mix.

“He is ready to take on all-comers and as he aims for his 22nd win in November, the next step for Zhang then will be to face his fellow top-class contenders and get in position for a world title shot.”

Before turning professional Zhang was a highly successful amateur, winning a silver medal at super-heavyweight in the 2008 Olympic Games on home soil in Beijing. Anthony Joshua, now his stablemate, ended Zhang’s bid for gold in the London Olympics of 2012.

To date, Zhang’s professional CV lacks lustre and Hearn will hope to test his new man at a higher level soon.

It’s likely his fights will be showed by Sky Sports in the UK and by DAZN in markets such as the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland.