Zhilei Zhang gives his take on why Deontay Wilder was SO BAD in Parker loss

There have been many theories given for that shock Deontay Wilder loss to Joseph Parker in December, and his heavyweight rival Zhilei Zhang has one of his own.

Wilder was all set for a blockbuster showdown vs Anthony Joshua in March – all he had to do was avoid a loss to Parker on that massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh.

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Instead though ‘The Bronze Bomber’ looked completed becalmed and befuddled as he struggled to land a meaningful punch, eventually losing a one-sided unanimous decision.

That left those Joshua vs Wilder plans in tatters, and while AJ moves on to fight Francis Ngannou, Deontay must now pick up the pieces.

Zhang, himself currently preparing to face Parker in another heavyweight blockbuster on March 8, gave his thoughts on what happened on that December night in the desert.

Zhang on Wilder loss

He told Ryan Songalia of Ring magazine: “My humble opinion is that it was due to the inactivity that Deontay Wilder was performing that way.

“He fought one round for almost two years [vs Robert Helenius in October 2022] which is very inactive and that led to his timing being off.”

While Wilder was coming into his Parker fight off a long period of inactivity, Zhang is just the opposite. His reputation is soaring these days after three terrific performances in the last 18 months.

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First, in August 2022, he has unlucky in the eyes of many experts to drop a decision to IBF mandatory contender Filip Hrgovic on the Usyk vs Joshua 2 card in Saudi Arabia.

If that showing was impressive, Zhang would then take things up a further notch by twice destroying the previously unbeaten British contender Joe Joyce.

First, in April 2023, ‘Big Bang’ powered his way to a TKO victory in Round 6 after peppering the right eye of Joyce with accurate shots, causing significant damage for the Brit.

If anybody thought the outcome would be different in the September rematch, they were very wrong. If anything Zhang’s second win over ‘The Juggernaut’ was even more comprehensive.

This time it took Zhilei just three rounds to take Joyce apart, with the closer a beautiful right hook to knock out Joyce.

Joyce wins made people believe

Now Zhang is in the top five of most heavyweight ranking lists, and in line for a WBO title shot at some stage as the sanctioning body’s interim champion. He believes people finally know how good he is, and he’s keen to keep it that way.

“I was a big underdog going into the Joe Joyce fight,” said the Chinese star.

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“Everybody was talking about his 15-0 record, undefeated, Joe Joyce will destroy me in six rounds, that’s what everybody was saying. He’s the juggernaut, he’s unbreakable, but I went in there with a good preparation with my coach Shaun George and everybody can see the work.

“September was the second time I proved that the first time was not a fluke. I always feel like people have a misunderstanding about me because they don’t get to see me. On March 8 I also have something new to show everybody. Every fight I’m bringing something new to the table.”

Fury or Usyk for ‘Big Bang’?

Oleksandr Usyk is the current WBO king, and that title will be on the line in that blockbuster unification match vs Tyson Fury in May. Which one would Zhang prefer to face down the line? He claims there is a bigger question…

“Skill-wise I can take both of them. Are they gonna take me? I think that’s the problem. I think they are going to approach me with caution because I represent very big risk here.”

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