Report | Deontay Wilder targeted to face interim WBO heavyweight champion Zhilei Zhang on the ‘Joshua vs. Ngannou’ undercard

By Harry Kettle - January 8, 2024

Boxing star Deontay Wilder may wind up fighting Zhilei Zhang as part of the Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou card later this year.

Deontay Wilder

Just a few days before Christmas, Deontay Wilder made his return to the boxing ring for the first time in over a year. He went head to head with Joseph Parker, with the expectation being that he’d earn a fight with Anthony Joshua with a victory.

Instead, Parker shocked the masses and pulled off a huge unanimous decision victory. He did so with a composed, confident and professional performance from bell to bell, leaving Wilder to wonder what could’ve been.

RELATED: Interim Boxing champion reveals Francis Ngannou turned down December 23rd bout: “Walk in the park for me”

Now, in March, Anthony Joshua is tipped to square off against Francis Ngannou. As per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Wilder may also return on that card in a risky bout of his own.

Wilder/Zhang could be imminent

“Zhang had a fantastic 2023,” Mannix said in his thoughts and analysis about the event. “He was Sports Illustrated’s 2023 Breakout Boxer of the Year because, with two wins over Joe Joyce, he revived his career. At 40 years old, he is a top five heavyweight once again.”

Quotes via MMA News

Mannix claimed in his video that Zhilei Zhang is likely to be in the featured contest of the night, prior to the main event. As of this writing, his expected opponent is Deontay Wilder.

Zhang is reportedly pushing hard for ‘The Bronze Bomber’ to be his opponent, with Saudi officials also being keen on this matchup. Mannix also stated that there’s a chance they could face other foes, which could open the door for Filip Hrgović to get a slot on the card.

Zhang is the WBO interim heavyweight champion after defeating Joe Joyce twice last year.

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