Zhilei Zhang brands Tyson Fury a ‘DISGRACE to boxing’ and accuses the WBC champion of avoiding Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua to instead face ex-UFC star Francis Ngannou
- Zhilei Zhang accused Tyson Fury of avoiding fights with top contenders
- Chinese heavyweight had been in talks to face the WBC champion later this year
- Fury is now scheduled to face former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in October
Zhilei Zhang has called Tyson Fury a ‘disgrace to boxing’ and accused the WBC heavyweight champion of avoiding legitimate challengers.
Since concluding his trilogy with Deontay Wilder in October 2021, Fury has faced significant criticism for failing to take on the top fighters in the heavyweight division.
The Gypsy King returned to the ring in April last year, stopping Dillian Whyte in six rounds and subsequently announcing his retirement from the sport.
Fury’s announcement would be short lived however, and despite talks suggesting the long-awaited Anthony Joshua showdown would finally come to fruition, the 34-year-old instead faced Derek Chisora at Wembley, outclassing him en-route to a 10th round TKO.
With unified champion Oleksandr Usyk and former titleholders Joshua and Deontay Wilder yet to enter the ring in 2023, Zhang took the initiative in the division by comprehensively defeating Joe Joyce in April.
Joe Joyce has slammed Tyson Fury, accusing the WBC champion of avoiding top challengers
Zhang claimed Fury has avoided fights with Oleksandr Usyk(left) and Anthony Joshua(right)
Victory appeared to briefly set the 2008 Olympic silver medalist on a collision course with Fury, with representatives for the two fighters holding talks earlier this year.
Ultimately though, Joyce would elect to enact his rematch clause, with Fury now scheduled to face former UFC champion and boxing debutant Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia the following month.
‘My team were in conversations with Tyson Fury’s team, we were very close to making that fight before the rematch clause was activated,’ Zhang told Standard Sport, via Free Bets.
‘I believe that fight is going to happen, one way or another.’
Ngannou earned a reputation as one of the most feared strikers in MMA, and last fought inside the cage in January 2022, defending his UFC heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane.
A highly-publicised dispute over pay with the promotion ensued, with Ngannou electing not to re-sign with the promotion upon the expiry of his contract and instead pursuing a big-name boxing fight.
The WBC champion in the prime of his career facing a novice professional was always going to prove controversial, and Zhang did not hesitate to condemn the decision.
Zhang revealed he has been in talks to face Fury before Joe Joyce enacted his rematch clause from their April bout
Fury is scheduled to face former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia in October
‘When you look at Tyson Fury – he avoided Joshua, he avoided Usyk. He chose to fight somebody who has never been in the ring before.
‘[Ngannou] is a novice, he’s just turning pro. Yes he’s a UFC champion and I have respect for him, but when it comes to the ring it’s a different story.
‘So Tyson Fury I think is a disgrace to the sport of boxing. Shame on him.’
Zhang will rematch Joyce at Wembley Arena on September 23.