JOE JOYCE will make his professional debut against exceptionally strong opposition – recent British heavyweight title challenger Ian Lewison – over the alien distance of 10 rounds. Given his amateur experience, which includes several tough bouts in the WSB, he comes into the pro ranks with something of a head start. Even so, as the debuts of his modern day predecessors proves, it’s a bold – and welcome – move.
In 1996, after claiming gold in the super-heavyweight division at the Atlanta Olympics, Klitschko feasted on the woefully overmatched Fabian Meza who was 4-1-1 going in. It was optimistically set for four (it didn’t last one).
The 1988 Olympic king made his debut the following year, and hammered a willing but outgunned Al Malcolm, 11-12-1, in two rounds. The Midlands Area champion was also in the opposite corner for Gary Mason’s first two contests. All three bouts were scheduled for six.
LEWIS vs MALCOLM
In 1989, “Big Daddy” opened his professional account by thrashing 0-1 Lionel Butler inside five minutes of a scheduled four-rounder. The result looked better years later, as Butler became a top contender before losing to Lennox Lewis in a 1995 WBC eliminator.
Emanuele Leo’s 8-0 record sounded decent but his limitations were obvious as Joshua bludgeoned him to defeat in the opening moments of their 2013 six-rounder. The Italian has not fought since.
The gifted 1984 Olympic champion was forced to go the full six rounds by future fringe contender Mike Evans (then 3-1-1) in a tough professional start. Biggs continued the theme, facing the likes of James Tillis and Jeff Sims in his first 10 outings.
BIGGS vs EVANS
The solid but unspectacular David Ingleby, 6-24-1, went 10 rounds with Pele Reid before taking Price into the third of their 2009 bout. It was scheduled for six.
Hector Mercedes, 0-3, was plucked from obscurity to ease amateur standout Tyson into the professional ranks in a 1985 four-rounder. Tyson ended the mismatch in the first session.
TYSON vs MERCEDES
Mike Middleton, 8-9, had a bizarre time in the UK prior to being served up to golden boy Harrison in their infamous 2001 bout. Widely panned after falling in one round (set for six), Middleton was later deemed adequate fodder for 17-0 Owen Beck and 14-0 Brian Minto.
The squat Jesse McGhee, 5-2, wanted to hear the final bell against 1988 Olympic star Mercer after four rounds, but fell in the third. McGhee would also lose to Bruce Seldon and James “Bonecrusher” Smith.
Lupe Guerra’s record of 17-6 going into his 1982 eight-rounder with Frank Bruno was exposed as he was blasted out in the first. But it’s worth noting that after the Bruno shellacking, Guerra lasted longer with a 14-0 Tony Tucker, a comebacking Leon Spinks (twice) and gatekeepers, Jerry Halstead and Michael Greer.