ZHILEI ZHANG’S chances of fighting Anthony Joshua look up in smoke after he laboured to a draw against Jerry Forrest.
Zhang talked revenge on Joshua after suffering defeat in their amateur days in the quarter-finals at the 2012 Olympics in London.
The 37-year-old believes a scrap with Britain’s heavyweight king would sell-out Beijing’s 100,000-seater Bird’s Nest Stadium.
However those dreams have been hammered.
The Chinese giant floored Forrest THREE TIMES, but was forced to settle for a majority draw on the Canelo versus Yildirim undercard after completely gasing out in the second half of the bout.
One judge gave it 95-93 to Forrest, with two other scoring it 93-93.
Zhang floored Forrest towards the end of the first round with a thudding right out of nowhere.
He survived the count before the bell signalled the end of the round.
Both men threw some hammering shots in the second before Zhang again scored another knockdown with a beauty of a right.
Forrest was ready to go out on his sword as he threw haymakers in a vain bid to score a knockdown himself – unfortunately they were far too wild.
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And he was made to pay YET AGAIN at the start of the third round when he was sent crashing face-first to the floor.
The Big Bang was living up to his billing.
The fourth and fifth was a messy affairs, but at least Forrest stayed on his feet in this one – and the tide began to turn.
Zhang was finally warned by the referee in the sixth for constant pushing down – something which was clearly contributing to Forrest’s lethargy.
But as the clock ticked on it was Zhang who was gassing heavily in there.
Forrest kept on pludering through the seventh, and in the eighth it was as if he sensed blood.
And the red stuff started to flow with the Chinese giant Zhang complaining of a headbutt.
A healthy lead thanks to three knockdowns was being eroded by plucky ‘slugger’ Forrest with Zhang barely able to hold himself up in the ninth and the American landing at will.
A point was finally deducted from Zhang for persistent holding – leaving the fight very much in the balance.
Forrest, 32, came out swinging like a madman in the last, desperate to take advantage of Zhang’s meltdown in the right.
And he easily won the round, coming mightily close to flooring the exhausted Chinese fighter.
But the two bruisers were forced to share the spoils after an absorbing encounter.