THERE were many disappointed when Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury failed to agree an undisputed heavyweight title fight, apart from Deontay Wilder. But perhaps none more than Joe Joyce. His career has been on hold as he’s waited for the heavyweight title picture to resolve. If Joshua-Fury had happened, Joyce was expecting to fight Oleksandr Usyk for an Interim belt from the WBO. Instead Usyk is now in the frame to challenge Joshua. Joyce has had to move on. He will do so when he boxes Carlos Takam on July 24 at the SSE Arena in Wembley.
“He’s a good, come-forward fighter. He likes to scrap. He always comes in good shape. He’s experienced and he always comes ready for his fights. He poses quite a problem so he’s a challenging opponent. He’s not a southpaw [like Usyk], he’s orthodox, something I’m more familiar with. A bit of a shorter fighter so he’ll be trying to loop them over the top and trying to get inside. He’s going to pose some challenges but they’re something I can overcome,” Joyce said.
Joshua took some time to break down Takam, while the Cameroonian was all over Dereck Chisora, until the Londoner levelled him with a knockout blow. Joyce is hoping to do a better job against Takam next month. “Then make a statement. It also keeps me sharp and ready for a potential world title,” he noted.
He made a statement in his last fight, when he stopped Daniel Dubois, a result for which Joe does not feel he has received enough credit. “It seemed to me to be more about Dubois’ eye and his loss and his comeback than about me actually beating Dubois. When Dubois was supposed to wipe the floor with me, beat me in less than three rounds, and then I made him quit,” Joyce said. “I think he was just used to people waiting to be knocked out. They just kind of stay there and he walks them down and knocks them out. He had like 30 second bursts where he was very dangerous, throwing everything but the kitchen sink. But then it was only for 30 seconds and then he was breathing heavily throughout the fight. I was trying to keep away from the heavy leather that he was throwing at me. I didn’t really take anything cleanly, most of them were glancing blows. I kept the jab still pumping out and it was just landing every time.
“I had taken his best punches and he was slowly getting more and more tired. Especially in those final rounds. I was quite comfortable, not getting hit and just landing the jab. The scorecards didn’t seem to reflect that.”
Joyce wants to make up for lost time. He intends to box at least once more this year, possibly twice, after the Takam fight. “I’m not hanging around. I will fight Takam and then there is something else lined up,” he insists. “I’m just going to do my part in the gym and work out with my management team and Frank Warren to get me in the best positions to get the best fights.”
He could well be in a position to box the winner of Joshua vs Usyk, potentially next year. He has in fact boxed both before, as an amateur and in the World Series of Boxing. “Usyk is going to warm into the fight, try and get out of the way, move around, use his footwork and skills to try and stay away from Joshua and try to steal the fight and win on points,” he said. “But Joshua is quite quick, he dealt with Charles Martin [a southpaw] pretty well so Joshua is going to end up catching up with him, put some shots together, landing something heavy and taking him out eventually.”
In the meantime, Joe Joyce will keep fighting and keep waiting.