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Zhang ‘wants’ Parker rematch, reveals he was not ‘gassed!’

Zhilei Zhang ‘wants’ to enforce an immediate rematch after he floored Joseph Parker twice in a points defeat, says his co-manager Terry Lane.

The Chinese heavyweight dropped Parker in the third and eighth rounds, but the New Zealander’s superior work-rate was rewarded with a majority decision win on the Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou undercard in Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

Parker and his promoter David Higgins revealed afterwards that Zhang can activate a contractual clause for an immediate rematch and his co-manager Lane believes that this is the most likely career move.

“Firstly, our whole team wants to congratulate team Parker and Andy Lee for executing a perfect game plan for fighting Zhilei,” Lane told Sky Sports

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Parker confirmed that he is set to face Zhang again in a rematch

“Parker is a seasoned veteran and he surely showed it Friday night. The momentum that he has right now is incredible.”

“I think Zhilei wants the rematch,” Lane added.

“From my perspective, if you take a step back and look at the big picture, what is going on now in the heavyweight division is really exciting. It is reminiscent of of eras past when there were a number of top, high-profile, world-class big men who kept fighting each other to the benefits of boxing fans.

“Styles make fights, and it is very nuanced. Zhang beats Joyce, who lost to Parker? Surely Zhang beats Parker, right? Wrong. A beats B, B beats C, then A beats C? Not in boxing. It’s more of a game of Paper, Rock, Scissors where each beats one and loses the other.

“Having said that, Zhilei can make the adjustments, win more rounds and go on to other things.”

Zhilei Zhang, Joseph Parker (Pic courtesy of Mark Robinson)
Image: Zhang let the fight slip from his grasp in the closing rounds

The 40-year-old Zhang appeared to be conserving his energy throughout the fight, even after he had visibly hurt Parker following the two knockdowns.

But Lane has revealed that Zhang felt he was in command of the fight and could have raised his punch output.

“Zhilei is disappointed but not discouraged,” he said. “Parker’s crouching and holding really threw Zhilei off and he never really found his rhythm.

“According to Zhilei, he never was gassed, but really just felt frozen in the last third of the fight. After round eight, he thought he was up on the cards more than he actually was.

“Zhilei being a puncher, he never really had to worry about stealing rounds, but not doing much of anything for the last four will not win you fights. It’s something that he will have to work on.

“But it was very close – and there were close rounds. He wins one more round on one card, and two more on another, he wins via majority decision.”

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source