Zhilei Zhang, the Chinese heavyweight, has sent a warning to Tyson Fury, believing their fight would be a "disaster" for the former world champion. Zhang's bold statement comes as Fury prepares for his highly-anticipated heavyweight unification bout against Oleksandr Usyk on February 17.
Fury's undefeated streak was slightly tarnished after his lackluster performance against former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in October. While Fury emerged victorious, he was knocked down in the third round, prompting questions about his current form and motivation.
Having knocked out previously unstoppable British powerhouse Joe Joyce twice in 2023, Zhang believes Fury's recent struggles present an opportunity for him to claim the heavyweight throne. "I don't think Fury probably ever trained to fight Ngannou.
It wasn't him as we know it, it was a completely different person," Zhang said, suggesting Fury may not have taken the Ngannou fight seriously.
The Chinese giant is not afraid of Fury
Zhang's confidence extends to his belief that he has the power to turn a fight with Fury into a "disaster." "If you look at his career, he's been getting hit, he's been going down, and my shots are no joke.
When I hit him, it's going to be a disaster!" Zhang stated. The Chinese heavyweight expressed his frustration at the lack of desire from the top names in the division to face him. He singled out Fury, Usyk, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder as the "big four" that avoided him.
"I always wanted to fight the big four names - Fury, Alexander Usyk, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, but they don't want to fight me and run away from me," concluded Zhang. Zhang's impressive performances in 2023 put him in prime position to challenge for the world title in 2024.
Whether he faces the winner of the Fury-Usyk fight or Hrgovic in the rematch remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain: Zhilei Zhang is a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division, and his potential clash with Tyson Fury could be one of the most explosive fights of next year.