By: Hans Themistode
Joe Joyce was happy as can be the moment he took down the highly touted heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois in late November last year. Coming into their showdown, Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) was given little to no chance of getting the job done. However, following a rough start, the British native forced Dubois to take a knee before ultimately stopping his man with a persistent jab which left his left orbital bone completely shattered.
Shortly after the win, Joyce saw his ranking in the WBO sanctioning body soar to number two in the world. With unified champion Anthony Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine belt holder Tyson Fury currently deep in negotiations on a two-fight deal, Joyce could be forced to take on number one ranked contender Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO interim title.
While Joyce would love to face either Joshua or Fury instead, the former Olympic Silver medalist wouldn’t mind getting a bit of revenge against a man who schooled him on the amateur scene nearly a decade ago.
“Yeah definitely,” said Joyce to IFL TV when asked if he wants to face Usyk next. “I look forward to it. It was a great fight the first fight and the rematch is going to be even better. I think I picked up more skills along the way. I’ve been in the sport for a lot longer now. I think Usyk is putting a bit more weight on power-wise and I think it just has the makings of a great fight.”
In January of 2013, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) dominated Joyce during an amateur tournament, winning all five rounds on the night. In terms of excuses, Joyce made none as he admitted that Usyk was the better man. With that being said, Joyce believes he’s a completely different fighter now.
“It was all action for five rounds but I’ve picked up a lot of skills since then. Most importantly, he’s going to have to deal with me for 12 rounds, not five.”
The potential to score a bit of revenge is a driving factor for the heavyweight contender. But more than anything, Joyce is fully aware that a win over his amateur rival will place him in an ideal position moving forward.
“For the winner, they have a chance to potentially fight the winner of Fury vs AJ. There’s nothing bigger than fighting for the undisputed crown.”