Top Rank Presents WBO Interim Heavyweight Title Clash – Joe Joyce vs. Zhilei Zhang
Co-Feature WBC Interim Lightweight Championship Mikaela Mayer vs. Christina Linardatou
Saturday, April 15 at 3:00 p.m. ET/ 12 noon PT LIVE on ESPN+
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Top Rank presented by AutoZone: Joyce vs. Zhang and Mayer vs. Linardatou will be live this Saturday, April 15 at 3 p.m. ET / 12 noon PT exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+. The event takes place at Copper Box Arena, London, U.K.
The main event features a WBO interim heavyweight title clash between knockout artist Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) and Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs).
British-born Joyce, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is unbeaten and has held various titles at the regional level. In his last fight, he captured the interim WBO title with an 11th-round knockout over former title challenger Joseph Parker.
Zhang, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist, turned pro in 2014 and knocked out Curtis Tate in the first 17 seconds of round one. He maintained a winning streak until a draw in 2021 against Jerry Forrest. He went on to win two more fights before his first and only defeat in 2022 against undefeated Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgović.
In the highly anticipated co-feature, Mikaela Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs) makes her lightweight debut against former two-time junior welterweight champion Christina Linardatou in a 10-rounder for the WBC interim lightweight championship.
Mayer, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, signed with Top Rank in 2017 and captured the WBO junior lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory against Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. The following year, the Los Angeles native unified the WBO and IBF titles in an action-packed fight against Maiva Hamadouche. In her last fight, Mayer suffered the first defeat of her career, a razor-thin split decision setback to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena.
Linardatou began her pro career with a first-round technical knockout over Claribel Ferreras. She remained undefeated until unsuccessfully challenging Delfine Persoon for the WBC lightweight world title in 2016. She bounced back with four more wins and captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight championship before losing her 140-pound belt to Katie Taylor in 2019. In 2020, Linardatou regained that title with a unanimous decision over Prisca Vicot. Last July after a 29-month layoff, she returned to boxing with a six-round decision over Aleksandra Vujovic.
Calling the action will be Hall of Famer Timothy Bradley, Jr with Mark Kriegel and Bernardo Osuna as reporters.
How Mikaela Mayer is rebuilding her career by taking bigger challenges (link)
Ahead of Mikaela Mayer’s return, Michael Rothstein talks to the former champion about what happened after her loss to Alycia Baumgardner and how she plans to get back to the top.
Out Thursday: Meet Christina Linardatou ahead of her fight against Mikaela Mayer
Michael Rothstein talks with Christina Linardatou about her pregnancy, her return, and to the WBO to find why she was stripped of her title.
Out Friday: Meet Joe Joyce, the heavyweight interim champ that could be in line for a title shot if he wins on Saturday
Joe Joyce is on the brink of landing a world heavyweight title shot and his story is one you will hear more about over the next two years.
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All Times ET
|Sat. April 15||3:00 PM||Main||Joe Joyce (IC) vs. Zhilei Zhang||ESPN+||(Interim) WBO Heavyweight|
|Co-Feature||Mikaela Mayer vs. Christina Linardatou||(Interim) WBC Lightweight|
|Undercard||Moses Itauma vs. Marcelo Chancalay|
|Undercard||Sam Noakes vs. Karthick Sathish Kumar|