Brit Joyce is looking for revenge against Zhang after he was defeated by his opponent when he was dealt a heavily swollen eye, with the referee stopping the bout in the sixth round in London.
It was the 38-year-old’s first professional career loss and his first defence of his WBO interim title, and he vowed to bounce back after things didn’t go to plan in April this year.
He will be given the chance for revenge on Saturday when the rematch takes place at Wembley, though Zhang has warned Joyce that he is ready to end his career in his home country.
Joyce is prepared, however, weighing in at a surprise 281lbs for the bout, leaving some unpredictability at how he will handle the southpaw.
Joe Joyce (pictured) has put on 25lbs for his second fight with Zhilei Zhang tomorrow evening
The Brit will go head to head with Zhang (left) for the second time this year after he was stopped in April
Joyce was 256lbs for the first bout (left), but he has now put that weight plus more back on for Saturday’s fight
The weight is also a career high for Joyce, whose previous heaviest in his career was 271lbs.
Joyce told Mail Sport exclusively about the reason for his weight loss for the previous fight, which he looked uncomfortable for compared to his previous wins which had seen him rise up the rankings.
He dropped a drastic amount of weight ahead his first fight with Zhang in April, tipping the scales over a stone lighter than in his previous bout.
Joyce, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, weighed in at 256lbs for his heavyweight clash with the 40-year-old, while Zhang tipped the scales at 278lbs for the bout.
This time, the Chinese star clocked 287.2lbs, also putting on a stern amount of weight for the fight.
‘No there wasn’t [a reason behind coming in much lighter than his previous fight],’ Joyce told Mail Sport. ‘I had a pre-camp before Christmas which was a three week training camp. That went well and then over Christmas, I wasn’t eating badly and I was being active so when I went into camp I was already at fight weight.
‘Then obviously with the training I did, I just stripped more weight off. It was quite hard to eat as well given how late my sessions were ending. It was hard to keep the weight up.
‘Normally Salas wants my weight lower but for Zhang, who is a big heavyweight, it was probably too low. I don’t know, if I had won the fight and had good footwork and head movement and beat him, people wouldn’t be criticising my weight.’
Joyce was stopped in the sixth round in London in April after suffering a swollen eye in the bout
Joyce told Mail Sport that he rejected a £10,000-a-round sparring session with Tyson Fury (pictured) to prepare for the rematch
Joyce, meanwhile, has revealed that he turned down a sparring session with world champion Tyson Fury because the Gypsy King wanted £10,000-a-round.
Fury seems to have taken a step back from defending his world title, currently preparing for a cross-sport match with UFC legend Francis Ngannou.
But he is willing to keep busy in the meantime, offering to spar Joyce to help him prepare for Zhang this weekend.
‘No I wouldn’t spar him for a number of reasons,’ Joyce told Mail Sport. ‘Number one, it’s overpriced. £10,000 a round is not really worth it. And then, number two, I have already sparred him.’