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Joyce set for heavyweight rematch with China’s Zhang

British heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce has activated his rematch clause with China’s Zhilei Zhang as he looks to get back on the world title trail.

Joyce’s hopes of a bout with either Tyson Fury or Oleksandr Usyk, who between them hold all the major versions of the heavyweight world title, suffered a setback when the Londoner was stopped in the sixth round by Zhang at the Copper Box Arena last month.

The loss represented a first professional defeat for Joyce after 15 straight wins and the bout was stopped with his right eye almost swollen shut, the referee calling a halt following two inspections by the ringside doctor.

Joyce, however, tweeted Tuesday: “Rematch clause activated. Taking back what’s mine.”

Zhang took the 37-year-old Joyce’s WBO interim title and with it the mandatory position to face the sanctioning body’s full champion Usyk, who also holds the WBA and IBF belts.

But WBA and IBF mandatory challengers, Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic respectively, are ahead in the queue for a title shot and Zhang may have to wait for up to a year before he gets a chance to face a world heavyweight champion.

Zhang was reported to be in talks for a showdown with Fury, but a return bout against Joyce, which could take place in China, now looks a more likely bout.

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