Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang are closing in on a deal for a fight on April 15 in London, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The heavyweight bout will be televised on BT Sport in the U.K. rather than PPV, sources said.
Joyce, ESPN’s No. 6 heavyweight, scored a career-best win in September with an 11th-round KO of former champion Joseph Parker. The victory was Joyce’s fifth consecutive stoppage win. The streak also includes inside-the-distance triumphs over Daniel Dubois and Carlos Takam.
The 37-year-old Londoner, who won an Olympic silver medal in 2016, is one of the largest heavyweights in the division at 6-foot-6, 270-plus pounds. But this time, Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) will meet someone who is the same size.
Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs) is also 6-foot-6 and weighed 277 pounds for his August fight vs. Filip Hrgovic. The 39-year-old dropped a tight unanimous decision, but it was a career-best performance for the 39-year-old from China.
Hgrovic won bronze at those same Olympic Games in ’16 and was a 10-1 favorite to defeat Zhang.
Now, Zhang takes on a second tough task in Joyce, who will also be heavily favored to remain undefeated.
BoxingScene first reported the news of the fight.