‘Big Bang’ Zhang Has Huge Weight Advantage Over Parker And Is The Heavyweight To Avoid, Says Former Champion Haye

Zhilei Zhang goes into tomorrow’s fight with Joseph Parker with a 44lbs weight advantage.

The 6ft 6ins Chinese star, who fights out of Bloomfield, New Jersey, is 26-1-1 with 21 stoppage wins, while Parker is 34-2 (23 KOs), and Zhang tipped the scales at 291.6lbs, while Parker was 247.6lbs.

Zhang said an impressive win over Parker, who defeated Deontay Wilder on points in December, would put him “right on the top.”

“If he wants to be aggressive, so be it,” Zhang added. “Everything’s finished, the hard work’s finished, all the talk’s finished and I’ll see him tomorrow night.”

Neither Zhang nor Parker has a lot to say, just 24 hours before they were due to meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, tomorrow (March 8) night.

Some feel the fight, Friday’s co-main, is flying under the radar, with the focus on the heavyweight attraction between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou getting the headlines.

“It doesn’t really matter about the attention or not,” said Parker. “We’re both here to do a job, we’re both well prepared. I’ve trained very hard with my team, [nutritionist] George [Lockhart] and [coach] Andy [Lee], and I’m ready to go tomorrow night.

“He’s a big man, [with a] big head, big body and a big target, and we’ve done everything we can [in camp]. I’ve had great rounds of sparring, so I’m going to go out there and show everyone what I’ve been working on.” One interested onlooker at today’s weigh-in was former world cruiserweight and heavyweight champion David Haye, who was full of praise for both, and Zhang in particular.

“Put all of the heavyweights in the world [in the mix], if I was competing now, he [Zhang] would be the toughest to beat,” said Haye. “He’d be the hardest to face. His style, his rhythm, now he got his conditioning and he can fight for the longer rounds… When he fought Filip Hrgovic he ran out of gas, but against Joyce he kept it coming. He realised the only reason he was beatable was because he ran out of steam. Now he seems to have addressed that, he’s a real problem for anyone. His chin’s solid, he punches from crazy angles, good workrate, educated pressure, the way he steps back and counters, he’s a problem for anyone.”

And while Haye has plenty of respect for the man from New Zealand, he finds it hard to look beyond the huge Zhang when it comes to who will win.

“I thought Parker wasn’t going to beat Wilder, but he showed he’s rejuvenated, he looks like he’s been in a time machine and gone back to the old days because he looks as fresh as a daisy,” Haye added. “But it’s going to be so difficult to beat Zhang. So difficult.”