MICHAEL WALLISCH is hardly a draw. But Joe Joyce needed this fight. He had not boxed for over a year, his training camp had been disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown and he weighed a career heaviest at 270lbs. He is on track now for his all-British showdown with Daniel Dubois, but he had to get some competitive rounds.
At the BT Sport studios Wallisch did give him that, at least in the first round. At the opening bell Joe immediately thumped a heavy jab into the German’s body and let the solid left land with a thud to the head, yet Wallisch’s lead hook forced him to step off. Instead of clamping his hands to his chin, too often Joe’s guard drifted down and Wallisch repeatedly fired his right into that invitingly open target.
It was taking Joyce too long to build his momentum. But when Joyce ramps up his workrate, he is formidable. He swiftly beat the fight out of the visitor. In the second round a sickening right slammed into Wallisch’s body and as he lurched back to the ropes, clipping hooks made sure the German sank to the canvas.
With a left hook to the head Joyce knocked him to his knees again in the third round. A right hook shook Wallisch up badly. Out on his feet, an excellent left hook to the body finished the fight. Referee Ian John Lewis waved it off after 57 seconds of the third round.
“I’m a bit portly round the middle. It’s been tough being in quarantine, you can’t do as much training as you would like,” Joyce said with a smile. “It was so good to get back on the pads, get back on the bags and get back in the ring.
“To get out of the ring with no injures and to get off the ring rust [was good]. I didn’t get a long training camp but it was a good step to get ready for this fight.”
The London knows his performance will have to go back up a level for the Dubois fight. Travel bans meant he could not train in Las Vegas with Ismael Salas. “I’d like to get back as soon as possible. It’s a pleasure working with Steve [Broughton, who trained him for this fight]. It would be good to get back with Salas as soon as possible,” he said. “I think with a training camp with Salas those little things would get sorted out.”
Streatham’s Chris Bourke picked up the vacant Southern area super-bantamweight, handling the determined efforts of Ramez Mahmood over 10 rounds. Bourke was sharper, using his southpaw jab, and started to clip Ilford’s Mahmood. Bourke hammered hard left hooks into Ramez’s body. But he withstood those punches. He looked his best when crowding Bourke and driving his way up close behind straight shots. Bourke though fired in bursts of quality punches, keeping control of the distance for the most part and making sure of a points win.
Referee Robert Williams scored 96-94 in Bourke’s favour.
Battersea’s Denzel Bentley seemed to be feeling the pace by the fifth round of his contest with Mick Hall, but he was subjecting the Preston man to sustained punishment. He stepped up his assault in the sixth round, slinging in heavy headshots. Hall was taking damage round both eyes and he ultimate retired on his stool.
The Verdict Joyce must be firing on all cylinders when he takes on Dubois.
Joe Joyce (270lbs), 11-0 (10), w rsf 3 Michael Wallisch (261lbs), 20-4 (13); Chris Bourke (121lbs), 8-0 (5), w pts 10 Ramez Mahmood (121½lbs), 11-1 (2); Denzel Bentley (158¾lbs), 13-0 (11), w rsf 6 Mick Hall (160½lbs), 15-3 (2); Louie Lynn (124lbs), 7-0 (6), w pts 6 Monty Ogilvie (130½lbs), 9-2 (1); Henry Turner (144¼lbs), 3-0, w pts 4 Chris Adaway (146lbs), 10-68-4 (1).