BRITAIN’S Joe Joyce is a heavyweight moving quickly. As an amateur he won Olympic silver, World bronze and European Games gold medals and after only seven professional fights will defend his Commonwealth title against former world champion Bermane Stiverne on Saturday (February 23) at the O2 Arena in London.
Stiverne lost his WBC crown to Deontay Wilder on points in 2015 and in a more recent rematch was stopped in the first round. Joyce has hopes of his own of knocking out Stiverne. “I don’t know if I will be able to beat the time [Wilder set]. The first fight was a lot more competitive, the second one I don’t think he was quite in shape and got taken out. I’m preparing for the best Bermane Stiverne. He says he has been in the gym, so it should be a good fight,” Joyce said.
“He seems to be a very tough guy, I sparred him in his camp in Vegas and his training looked a bit lethargic. That told in the fight. After that performance he has probably gone back to the drawing board and got himself in good shape for this.”
With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury appearing to drift away from their own rematch, with both now affiliated with different broadcasters, victory over Stiverne could push Joyce towards a major fight himself.
“That [Wilder-Fury] was an amazing fight to watch, it was a pleasure having him [Fury] up in Big Bear training and sparring, it was a really good experience, there was a lot of support from back home. I thought Fury did the business and I was really surprised that he got up from them shots, I thought that was it,” Joyce said.
Wilder still impressed him. “I think he is very patient. He waits for his opportunity and then lets the bomb off. Tyson has got mad skills, mad footwork, but he managed to find that shot. I think it might be similar in the next fight. However, Tyson has carried on training, he hasn’t relapsed, he hasn’t gone on the disco biscuits or partying,” Joe said. “He is focused and in a good place physically and mentally. I will be looking forward to that and being on the undercard of the next fight.”
On the top three heavyweights, Joyce notes with Fury “if you let him get going, he will ping your head off” and added, “Wilder is the most powerful for one hit potential, but probably the least skilled boxing wise. Joshua is more well-rounded, he has the power and technique. Fury is pretty much all skill.”
He thinks unified champion Anthony Joshua would be the most dangerous fight for him personally, not least because they have sparred countless rounds at the GB gym in Sheffield. “Joshua would be the most difficult,” Joyce said. “He knows me too.”
It is somewhat surprising that it is America’s Jarrell Miller who will get to challenge Anthony Joshua for the WBO, WBA and IBF on June 1 in New York. “He has not achieved that much,” he said of Miller. “I guess he has called his mum out and managed to get the fight.”