Joe Joyce has been moved wonderfully since turning professional in 2017, following his silver medal the 2016 Olympic Games, and there are no signs of his progress slowing or his ambitions being tempered.
Today, it was announced Joyce’s eighth professional opponent will be Haiti’s Bermane Stiverne, a former WBC world heavyweight champion. The pair will meet on February 23 at the O2 Arena, as part of an ITV Box Office bill topped by the super-middleweight grudge match between James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr.
It’s a shrewd next step for Joyce, one that continues to highlight the confidence his backers have in him. Stiverne, after all, has lost only three times in 29 pro fights – two of them at the hands of Deontay Wilder – and is a skilled if small heavyweight with plenty of experience and ring nous. He is now 40, which suggests he has seen his best days, and was last seen being sparked inside a round by Wilder (in 2017), but let’s not forget Joyce, the Boxing News ‘Prospect of the Year’ for 2018, has been a pro for a little over a year. All things considered, it’s a decent bit of matchmaking.