JOE JOYCE’S approach to his professional career is much like his approach to fights.
Head down, gloves up, relentlessly swinging lefts and rights until his opponent succumbs to pressure, Joyce isn’t looking to hang about, nor do things the pretty or easy way. He’s happy to get grubby; happy to muck in and take risks.
Which is why the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, still a novice pro, is chasing after heavyweights in the upper echelons of the division and bluffing many of the ones who claim to be avoided.
There was friction, for starters, with Dereck Chisora, which he hoped would lead to a May 5 fight, but when that failed to materialise attention turned to the likes of Dillian Whyte and Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, both of whom reacted to Joyce call-outs with how-dare-you vitriol.
— BIGBABYMILLER (@BIGBABYMILLER) May 22, 2018
Joyce’s promoter, David Haye, is quick to stress Joyce’s call-out strategy is far from hot air.
“Richard Schaefer (Hayemaker Ringstar promoter) touched base with Miller’s people and they wanted very unrealistic money, similar to what Deontay Wilder would have got for defending his WBC title against Luis Ortiz,” Haye told Boxing News.
“So that fight’s not really doable at this stage. But at least there was dialogue and they know there’s a guy out there who is willing to get in the ring and fight.
“Basically, Joe’s ready to fight anyone. When ‘Big Baby’ Miller and Dillian Whyte say nobody wants to fight them, Joe pipes up and says, ‘I do. I’ll fight you.’ They then make excuses and say he has nothing to offer them. They tell him, ‘You’ve only had four fights.’
“But if nothing else he is showing he is willing to fight and that’s apparently more than anyone else is offering. These guys claim they are being avoided but Joe Joyce isn’t avoiding them, so that’s not strictly true.
“Give it another three, four or five fights and he’ll be in a position where he’s bringing big money to the table and these bigger fights can start materialising.”
The issue, alluded to by Haye, is that Joyce’s desire to fight the best currently surpasses his level of professional experience and overall market value. He’s 4-0 (4), looks better with each fight, and has so far been matched ambitiously, admirably. He even became the Commonwealth heavyweight champion last time out, when impressively ragdolling Lenroy Thomas in three rounds.
But, alas, he’s still just 4-0.
“He’s only had four fights, and hasn’t boxed past eight rounds, so he needs more rounds,” admitted Haye. “Lenroy Thomas, his last opponent, was supposed to give him rounds, but Joe just juggernauted him. And I believe he will do the same thing to better fighters than Lenroy Thomas.
“Ideally, I want him to win the British title and then defend the British and Commonwealth titles and really clean up the domestic scene. After that, we’ll be looking at European titles.
“I want to bring him along fast in 12-round fights. People will soon understand he’s the real deal and will fight anybody.
“I’d be very confident that Joe Joyce beats all the guys out there other than (WBC champion) Deontay Wilder and (WBA, IBF and WBO champion) Anthony Joshua. Right now, I wouldn’t be worried about any of them.”