JOE JOYCE, ranked number seven by BN at heavyweight, is closing in on a big chance but he will have to wait for the situation at the top to resolve itself before he gets it.
Notoriously the Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury negotiations stalled as Deontay Wilder secured his third fight with Fury. Frank Warren, who promotes Joyce and represents Fury in the UK, while hopeful those talks can eventually restart, understands it will not be easy to make that heavyweight super-fight.
First things first, Joshua is expected to face Oleksandr Usyk next, Fury has a third fight with Deontay Wilder on July 24 in Las Vegas and earlier that night Joe Joyce boxes Carlos Takam at Wembley Arena.
“I’m not optimistic because they’ve both [Fury and Joshua] got to win their respective fights. The three of them have got to win their fights. Everybody’s got to keep winning. But he [Joyce] will get his shot because it will be ordered down the road [by the WBO, who rank Joyce as high as number two]. As regarding the other two I hope we can get it all on,” Warren said. “All that crap that was going down last time; ‘we’re sending contracts,’ ‘it’s going to be here and there,’ ‘I’m the only one doing things’ and all the comments that were made, it was all unnecessary and stupid. It’s not a fight that needs hyping or selling. As soon as you had it signed, then announce it and you could have sold out Wembley three times over. Everybody wants to see it. You haven’t got to keep feeding bulls**t out to people when everybody was fully aware there was a problem with the arbitration, everybody knew it was a problem.”
“We all signed an agreement to keep it quiet, to put out statements collectively. Within three days that was breached. In that agreement there was a clause about the arbitration, nothing about Usyk because we didn’t know that [he would pursue his mandatory WBO claim]. But there was a clause about the arbitration. So everyone was aware of that,” Warren continued.
“We went down the road with all this stuff, we probably cleared the way to get some things done. But we never cleared the way with the TV. That was never agreed. There were things to still be sorted out but we were still on the same page trying to get them done but hopefully now if they come through, hopefully it will make it easier. But for me any negotiations will be kept absolutely between us until we all sign the deal and then we can announce it.
“But anyway the fact is now those two obstacles [Wilder and Usyk] can be out the way if they both win and we’ll see where they go.”
After beating Daniel Dubois for the European, British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles last year, Joyce can’t afford to lose to seasoned Frenchman Carlos Takam, who went 10 rounds with Anthony Joshua in 2017 and eight with Dereck Chisora the following year. “He’s known and you know he’s going to come and fight,” Warren said. “It is [risky for Joyce]. But we thought about it and he’s been out a while. He wants to step up. When you look at his career, he’s not at any stage of his career had easy touches. He’s gone in with some decent opposition and beat them all. I spoke to his management and to Joe, put a couple of opponents across and obviously Takam is one we all agreed.
“We’re blessed in this country. We’ve got two guys [at the top of the division], I think the best youngsters and the best novice, 12 fights Joe’s had, in terms of a heavyweight fighter. We’ve got all these guys and we’re in a great situation. And he’s got a great position now.
“Once that Usyk and Joshua fight takes place, he’s the [WBO] mandatory. So for him, he can’t afford to slip up. He’s got his place at the table. He’s got to go and show the fans what he’s all about. Thankfully we’re going to have some fans in the building, which is going to give it a bit more atmosphere and hopefully he’ll respond to it.”
Limits on crowds are problematic for promoters currently. “It’s a dangerous world. The [Covid] rates are soaring, I think we’ve got the highest rate now in Europe of infections. What are you going to do? You can’t argue with vaccine statistics. They are what they are and we’ve got to keep everybody safe. What they’re trying to do is get everyone vaccinated in this country,” Warren reflected. “I’m hoping that by then we are allowed crowds back in. I know that they’re letting people in Wimbledon and the Euros, but they’re open air events. There comes a stage where what are we going to do? If this is the norm or going to be the norm, then we’ve got to adjust as to what we’re doing with our shows. There’s no doubt about that. It’s a shame, it’s the world we live in.”