In a reinvigorated heavyweight division, a number of rising stars are making cases for a possible shot at a heavyweight title, such as Jarrell Miller and Adam Kownacki but a new challenger could emerge from China.
Undefeated Chinese heavyweight and current WBO Oriental champion Zhang Zhilei will be action in China on September 28 against Don Haynesworth. The fight will be the second in 2018 for Zhilei, currently ranked No. 6 by the WBO rankings.
Although a win against Haynesworth won’t immediately bring him a title opportunity, Zhilei does have future big fights at stake. According to a press release from Roc Nation, the company who represents Zhilei, if the Chinese star is victorious against Haynesworth, then Zhilei could potentially fight on the November 24 Matchroom Boxing card in Monaco that will be streamed on DAZN. The card for that date has yet to be revealed, but promoter Eddie Hearn did say that a British fighter will be competing for a world title and that a total of four title fights will take place there.
Haynesworth has won both of his fights in 2018 by fourth-round knockout. The New York native has a 15-2-1 record, but the only noteworthy opponent on his resume is Bryant Jennings, who stopped Haynesworth in the third round of their fight in 2017.
As an amateur, Zhilei won a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships and won a silver medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics as a super heavyweight. Zhilei, who sports a 19-0 pro record, is a heavy-handed knockout artist who is on an eight-fight knockout streak with his last six fights ending with a first-round knockout victory for Zhilei.