‘Anthony Joshua beat me at the 2012 London Olympics – I want revenge’

'Anthony Joshua beat me at the 2012 London Olympics - I want revenge' | Boxing | Sport

Anthony Joshua overcame Zhilei Zhang on his way to winning super heavyweight gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But the Chinese star is now out for revenge after watching Joshua defeat Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Joshua dropped 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist Zhang in the second round of his second fight at the London Games before seeing off Ivan Dychko in the semi-finals and Roberto Cammarelle in the final. And the Watford-born ace went on to become a two-time unified WBO, IBF, and WBA heavyweight champion after turning professional.

Joshua, 34, was in dominant form during his most recent fight, a showdown against Wallin which took place in Riyadh. And the fight was called off after the fifth round as the Briton claimed his third win of the year.

Zhang, who turned 40 in May, was clearly paying attention to Joshua’s latest bout. And after the fight, he took to social media to lay down the gauntlet to his 2012 conqueror. “I lost to a better man 11 years ago in the Olympics,” Zhang wrote on Instagram. “I’m happy we have both come a long way, gone through ups and downs in life. Now it’s time to do this for the sport of boxing and give it to the fans around the world. Let’s get it on.”

Joshua had been tipped to set up a showdown with Deontay Wilder in early 2024. But he is now expected to go head-to-head with Croatian star Filip Hrgovic after Wilder suffered a shock defeat to Joseph Parker just before Joshua took to the ring in the Middle East.

And Zhang called Joshua out for a second time as he told FightHype: “I’d like to go after Joshua because he’s probably looking at Hrgovic as a potential fight. But when you look at Hrgovic’s resume, he was gifted a win. He beat me to become the mandatory challenger, and he had two pretty low-level fights to stay busy because he’s so scared to lose that position.

“He fought Demsey McKean from Australia for 12 rounds. He kept hitting him in the back of the head and, right now, I can call Hrgovic a professional in hitting on the back of the head because in every fight in every round, he’s hitting the guy on the back of the head.

“When you look at Joshua’s potential fight with Hrgovic, I just don’t think it makes that much commercial sense because if he comes to me, the whole of England will be watching, and the whole of China will be watching, and the whole Middle East. Everybody will be watching.

“Joshua’s past opponents are [Oleksandr] Usyk, southpaw, Otto Wallin, southpaw. And I think he’s very comfortable and he’s been really good at fighting southpaws, and I’m a southpaw. So, let’s get it. Credit to Parker, but I want to get Joshua next.”


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