AFTER crushing Lenroy Thomas to win the Commonwealth heavyweight title in May, Joe Joyce makes his first defence, at York Hall on Friday (June 15). Joe knows little about his challenger, Ghana’s Richard Lartey but is relaxed.
“That’s not a problem I’ve had a lot of fights in the amateurs on the domestic scene where you don’t know who you’re going to fight. I’m just prepared. I’ve had a good training camp and I’m ready,” Joyce said. “I’m happy I’ve got a belt now and I think my technique and style has improved thanks to [Ismael] Salas. I think it’s been the right move for me signing with Hayemaker Ringstar because I’ve progressed quite a lot through the rankings. I started off with a big statement [knocking out Ian Lewison on his debut] and the last fight was a big statement too. So I’m just going to keep moving forward.”
On Friday expect Joyce to continue his advance with bruising force. He remains ambitious. Bryant Jennings, a former world title challenger, is looking for an opponent now Joseph Parker is boxing Dillian Whyte. Joe eagerly offered his services and called for a fight with Jennings. “It’s a good fight. It’s a step up as well, it would put me in a good place, should I beat him,” he said.
Closer to home, British champion Hughie Fury is a natural fight for the Commonwealth heavyweight titlist. Joyce however is not holding his breath. “I heard maybe Peter [Fury, Hughie’s uncle and trainer] saying they weren’t going to take the fight. He’s got the belt and he’s going to vacate and move on to bigger and better things, which is understandable. He’s had a world title fight with Joseph Parker, he’s gone and won the British. He’s going to go a different route,” Joyce said. “I’d like to fight for the British title at some point. It’s a lovely belt. But I’m not going to hang around and wait to get the opportunity to fight for the British title, I’d prefer to move on to bigger and better things.
“I sparred with Hughie and Tyson [Fury] as well. Really good. They’re both very hard to hit, probably Tyson a bit more than Hughie because Tyson switches, so does Hughie, but even when he was at 20, 30 stone when I sparred him, he was still very hard to hit and awkward. He punches from different angles. Hughie’s quite slick is really hard to hit too and quite defensive. That could be a potential fight.”