Boxing

Fight Week: Deontay Wilder to face Zhilei Zhang in 5 vs. 5 main event in Saudi Arabia

Fight Week: Deontay Wilder to face Zhilei Zhang in 5 vs. 5 main event in Saudi Arabia

FIGHT WEEK

Deontay Wilder is scheduled to face Zhilei Zhang in the main event of the Queensberry and Matchroom 5 vs. 5 pay-per-view card Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

DEONTAY WILDER (43-3-1, 42 KOs)
VS. ZHILEI ZHANG (26-2-1, 21 KOs)

  • Date: Saturday, June 1

  • Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (main event later in show)

  • Where: Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  • TV/Stream: DAZN Pay-Per-View

  • Division: Heavyweight (no limit)

  • At stake: No major titles

  • Boxing Junkie Pound-for-pound: None

  • Odds: Zhang 1½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)

  • Significance (up to five stars): *****

  • Also on the card: Filip Hrgovic vs. Daniel Dubois, heavyweights; Dmitry Bivol vs. Malik Zinad, light heavyweights (for Bivol’s WBA title); Raymond Ford vs. Nick Ball, featherweights (for Ford’s WBA title); Austin Williams vs. Hamzah Sheeraz, middleweights; Craig Richards vs. Willy Hutchinson, light heavyweights

  • Background: Dmitry Bivol was scheduled to fight fellow 175-pound titleholder Artur Beterbiev in the main event of the Queensberry and Matchroom 5 vs. 5 card but the matchup was postponed after Beterbiev was injured in training. The show goes on, with Deontay Wilder facing Zhilei Zhang in the main event and Bivol defending his belt against Malik Zinad in a stay-busy fight. Wilder is at a crossroads. The hard-punching former heavyweight titleholder is 1-3 in his last four fights, with knockout losses against Tyson Fury in 2020 and 2021 and a one-sided decision setback against Joseph Parker on the Anthony Joshua-Otto Wallin card in December. The 38-year-old Alabamian’s only victory in the last four-plus years was a first-round stoppage of Robert Helenius in October 2022. A victory over Zhang could lead to one more title shot. Another loss could end his career as an elite fighter, particularly if he’s not competitive. Zhang, a 41-year-old from China, had built considerable momentum with back-to-back knockouts of Joe Joyce last year. However, he took a step backward with a majority decision loss to Parker even though he put the winner down twice in March. A victory would keep Zhang in the hunt for a title fight. Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs), ranked No. 4 pound-for-pound, shouldn’t have too much trouble with Zinad (22-0, 16 KOs). The Malta-based Libyan has a perfect record but is taking an enormous step up in opposition. He’s ranked No. 2 by the IBF. Also on the card, Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) and Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) will be fighting to maintain their positions as top contenders. Hrgovic, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, is coming off a first-round KO of Mark De Mori on the Joshua-Wallin card. Dubois bounced back from his knockout loss to Oleksandr Usyk by stopping Jarrell Miller in the 10th and final round, also on the Joshua-Wallin show. And 126-pound titleholder Raymond Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs) will defend his belt against Nick Ball (19-0-1, 8 KOs). Ford, a 25-year-old from New Jersey, is coming off a sensational stoppage of Otabek Kholmatov with only seven seconds remaining in a fight he was losing on the cards to win the vacant WBA title. Ball (19-0-1, 11 KOs) is coming off a strong performance, a split draw against WBC beltholder Rey Vargas in March. The 27-year-old from the U.K. outpointed Isaac Dogboe before that.

 

ALSO FIGHTING THIS WEEK

FRIDAY

  • Brandon Adams vs. Francisco Veron, junior middleweights, Houston (DAZN)

SATURDAY

  • Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal, light heavyweights, Inglewood, California (pay-per-view)

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie

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