Can Zhilei Zhang Become the Next Heavyweight Champion? Inside His Rise in Boxing

Hey there! Today, I want to tell you about Zhilei Zhang, also known as the “Big Bang.”

He’s a heavyweight boxer from China who’s been making big waves in the boxing world.

With his enormous size and knockout power, Zhang’s journey from a skilled beginner to a professional contender is truly inspiring.

Let’s dive into his story and see what makes him so special.

Zhilei Zhang – Key Facts and Achievements

CategoryDetails
Full NameZhilei Zhang
Nickname“Big Bang”
BirthplaceZhoukou, China
BirthdateMay 1983
EthnicityChinese
Height6’6″ (198 cm)
StanceSouthpaw
Professional DebutAugust 8, 2014
Professional Record26 Wins, 2 Losses, 1 Draw
Knockout Wins21
Total Rounds Boxed105
Notable Amateur AchievementsSilver Medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bronze at 2007 World Championships
Current RankingsThe Ring Magazine: 5th
WBO: 2nd
IBF: 8th
WBC: 9th
Net Worth$3 to $4 million
Major StrengthsKnockout Power, Size, Reach
Key ChallengesEndurance, Defensive Techniques
FamilyMarried, One Son
PhilanthropyCommunity Projects in China and the U.S.

Zhilei Zhang’s Ethnicity

Zhilei Zhang is Chinese. He was born in Zhoukou, China, and he’s super proud of his heritage.

In 2014, he moved to the United States to become a professional boxer.

His cultural background plays a big role in his career.

As one of the few well-known Chinese heavyweights, Zhang carries the hopes of his nation every time he steps into the ring.

This has inspired many young athletes in China to try boxing too.

Early Life of Zhilei Zhang

Zhilei Zhang was born in May 1983 in Shenqiu County, Henan Province, China.

When he was 13, his height of 6 feet caught the attention of sports officials in China.

They thought he might be good at rowing.

But by the time he was 15 and had grown to 6’6″, they decided boxing was a better fit.

He started training in boxing in 1998 at a provincial training center in Zhengzhou.

Zhang worked really hard and quickly showed he had a lot of talent.

He won a silver medal at the 2004 University Championships.

He kept training and won more medals, like a bronze at the 2007 World Championships and a silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

His early life was full of tough training, but it paid off and set him up for a great professional career.

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Beginning of Zhilei Zhang’s Boxing Career

Zhilei Zhang began boxing as an amateur when he was 15.

He quickly made a name for himself.

One of his biggest achievements was winning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This made him one of the top amateur heavyweights in the world.

In 2014, at 31 years old, Zhang decided to go professional.

He had his first pro fight on August 8, 2014, and won by TKO in the first round against Curtis Lee Tate. Zhang’s early professional fights showed off his knockout power.

He quickly became a fan favorite because of his aggressive style and determination.

Zhilei Zhang Chinese Heavyweight Boxer
Zhilei Zhang Chinese Heavyweight Boxer

Zhilei Zhang’s Fighting Style

Standing at 6’6″ and fighting as a southpaw (left-handed), Zhilei Zhang is known for his incredible power.

He often tries to knock out his opponents early in the fight.

His large size and long reach give him a big advantage, allowing him to land powerful punches from a distance.

Zhang’s fighting style is all about being aggressive and hitting hard.

But he sometimes has trouble with stamina in longer fights. To fix this, he started doing swimming and underwater training like Muhammad Ali did.

This has helped improve his cardio and stamina, showing that Zhang is dedicated to becoming a better boxer.

Zhilei Zhang’s Boxing Record

Here’s a quick look at Zhilei Zhang’s professional boxing record:

  • Wins: 26
  • Wins by KO: 21
  • Losses: 2
  • Draws: 1
  • Total Rounds Boxed: 105

Most of Zhang’s victories have come by knockout, which shows how powerful he is.

Some notable fights include his win against Devin Vargas in 2019 by TKO in the fourth round and his 2021 fight against Jerry Forrest, which ended in a draw after a tough battle.

Zhang’s consistent performance has earned him respect in the boxing world.

Zhilei Zhang’s Losses

Zhilei Zhang has lost two fights in his professional career:

  • August 20, 2022: Lost to Filip Hrgovic at King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This fight was close, but Zhang lost by unanimous decision. He still showed a lot of resilience.
  • March 8, 2024: Lost to Joseph Parker. This fight was highly anticipated. Although Zhang fought hard, Parker’s speed and agility were tough to handle. Zhang’s performance showed he needed to work on his endurance and defense.

“Zhang has the heart of a warrior. His losses have only made him more determined to come back stronger,”

Teddy Atlas, ESPN

These losses have taught Zhang valuable lessons, helping him improve and come back even stronger.

Each defeat has been a learning experience, helping him get better.

How Good is Zhilei Zhang as a Boxer?

Zhilei Zhang is considered a powerful and promising heavyweight boxer.

His high knockout ratio and physical advantages make him a tough opponent.

Even though he has lost twice, Zhang has shown resilience and determination.

His amateur success, including a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and his professional achievements make him a top contender.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis gave an interview to Boxing Scene and said,

“Zhilei Zhang is a powerhouse. His size and strength make him a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division,”

Lewis, Boxing Scene

Critics say he needs to work on his endurance, but he’s been making efforts to improve.

Zhang’s ability to adapt and learn from his experiences sets him apart.

His dedication to training and improving his weaknesses shows he’s serious about reaching the top.

With every fight, Zhang gets better, making him a tough and unpredictable opponent.

Zhilei Zhang’s Net Worth

As of 2023, Zhilei Zhang’s net worth is estimated to be around $3 to $4 million.

His earnings come from fight purses, sponsorships, and endorsements.

For example, he earned a base salary of $350,000 for his fight against Joe Joyce, plus a 35% share of the pay-per-view revenue and sponsorships, totaling close to $1 million for that fight alone

His growing popularity has brought in sponsorship deals, which boost his income even more.

Zhilei Zhang’s Current Ranking in Boxing

Zhilei Zhang’s current rankings in the heavyweight division are impressive:

  • The Ring Magazine: 5th
  • WBO (World Boxing Organization): 2nd
  • IBF (International Boxing Federation): 8th
  • WBC (World Boxing Council): 9th

These rankings place Zhang among the top contenders, showing his potential to win world titles.

His consistent performances and ability to compete at the highest level are reflected in these rankings.

As Zhang keeps facing top-tier opponents, his ranking is expected to rise, bringing him closer to his dream of becoming a world champion.

“Zhilei Zhang is a true contender. His rankings across the major organizations speak volumes about his capabilities and potential,”

Sulaimán, The Ring.

said Mauricio Sulaimán, president of the WBC, in a statement to The Ring.

Zhilei Zhang’s Personal Life

Zhilei Zhang is married and has a son.

Although we don’t know his wife’s name, it’s clear that Zhang’s family is very important to him.

Outside the ring, he enjoys spending time with them and doing community activities.

Even though he keeps his personal life private, Zhang’s commitment to his family and boxing career is evident.

Besides boxing, Zhang is involved in various philanthropic activities.

He’s known for his contributions to community projects in China and the U.S., using his platform to give back and inspire others.

Zhang’s dedication to his family and community highlights his character and values.

Finally

Zhilei Zhang’s journey from a tall teenager in rural China to a top-ranked heavyweight boxer is a testament to his hard work, determination, and talent.

With his impressive record, powerful fighting style, and continuous efforts to improve, Zhang is a name to watch in the boxing world.

As he climbs the rankings and takes on new challenges, Zhilei Zhang’s story inspires aspiring athletes and boxing fans alike.

How tall is Zhilei Zhang?

Zhilei Zhang’s height is: 6’6″ or 198 cm tall.

How much does Zhilei Zhang weigh? 

Zhilei Zhang’s weight for his upcoming fight against Deontay Wilder is: 282.8 pounds.

How old is Zhilei Zhang? 

Zhilei Zhang’s age is: 41 years old.

Does Zhilei Zhang speak English? 

Zhilei Zhang has a limited ability to speak English, but understands more than he can verbally express.

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Alistair Thiedicke hails from Hamburg, Germany, where his love for sports took root. Growing up a die-hard fan, his passion for sports evolved into a career in sports writing. Since 2023, Alistair has been a dedicated writer and editor at Viz Times, covering Soccer, NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB, and more. His engaging articles captivate sports enthusiasts everywhere.

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