Wednesday, April 12th 2023

SATURDAY: Joe Joyce-Zhilei Zhang & Mikaela Mayer-Christina Linardatou Headline London Fight Night at Copper Box Arena LIVE on ESPN+

Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Linardatou and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT

LONDON (April 12, 2023) – Top Rank on ESPN+ returns to London this Saturday with an action-packed doubleheader at the Copper Box Arena.

In the main event, undefeated British knockout artist Joe Joyce defends his WBO interim heavyweight title against Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang.

The co-feature will see former unified junior lightweight champion Mikaela Mayer making her lightweight debut against former two-time junior welterweight world champion Christina “Medusa” Linardatou in a 10-rounder for the WBC interim lightweight championship.

Promoted by Queensberry Promotions, Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Linardatou and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.

Queensberry Promotions hosted a media workout TODAY in London. CLICK HEREfor courtesy photos.
Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) captured a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and debuted as a pro following year. The 37-year-old has notched wins over former world champs Bermane Stiverne and Joseph Parker and against title challengers Carlos Takam and Bryant Jennings. In his last fight, Joyce stopped Parker in the 11th round to capture the interim WBO title. The undefeated knockout artist is on the path towards a potential showdown with heavyweight king Tyson Fury, but he’ll need to defend his strap against a fellow silver medalist.

Zhang (24-1-1, 19 KOs), a 2008 Chinese Olympian, started his career in the paid ranks in 2014. He went 22-0 and captured various regional titles before fighting to a draw against Jerry Forrest in 2021. The 39-year-old then scored stoppage wins over Craig Lewis and Scott Alexander before suffering his first pro loss against undefeated Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic. In terms of height and reach, Zhang and Joyce are identical as both are 6’6” tall with 80-inch reaches.

Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, signed with Top Rank in 2017 and captured the WBO junior lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory against Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. The following year, the Los Angeles native unified the WBO and IBF titles against Maiva Hamadouche. In her last fight, Mayer suffered the first defeat of her career, a razor-thin split decision setback to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena. Mayer wants to reverse her lone defeat, but she’ll first step up to lightweight to face Linardatou, the only woman to defeat Baumgardner in the paid ranks.

In 2016, Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs) unsuccessfully challenged Delfine Persoon for the WBC lightweight world title. She then bounced back with four straight wins, including a victory over Baumgardner and a win against Kandi Wyatt to capture the vacant WBO junior welterweight championship. Linardatou lost the belt to Katie Taylor in 2019 but regained it with a unanimous decision over Prisca Vicot in February 2020. Linardatou returned from a 29-month layoff last July with a six-round points victory against Aleksandra Vujovic.

In other ESPN+ streaming action from London: 

  • Undefeated heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma (2-0, 2 KOs) makes his third 2023 appearance in a scheduled six-rounder against Ukraine’s Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko (9-12-1, 6 KOs). Itauma made his professional debut in January with a scintillating first-round knockout against Marcel Bode, a performance he replicated against Ramon Ibarra in March.
  • In a battle of undefeated lightweights, England’s Sam Noakes (10-0, 10 KOs) will put his regional titles on the line in a 12-round fight against Indian standout Karthik Sathish Kumar (10-0, 4 KOs). Noakes is coming off a fourth-round TKO over then-unbeaten Calvin McCord last November, while Kumar notched a second-round TKO win over Meechaiya Kaiwiset in March.