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Daniel Dubois to Joe Joyce: “This is My Era!”

Posted on 02/12/2020

By: Hans Themistode

Whenever a fighter has yet to taste defeat inside of the ring, it can become difficult to get him or her to take on a real challenge. That 0 in the loss column is just too important to place in harm’s way. Unless, of course, if the price is right then that’s a completely different story. 

Other than a ridiculous payday, the risk never seems to outweigh the reward.

In the case of undefeated Heavyweight contenders Daniel Dubois (14-0, 13 KOs) and Joe Joyce (10-0, 9 KOs), they’ve both decided that they are ready to put everything on the line at such an early stage in their careers. 

On paper, this contest seems like an evenly matched one. It seems like the right call, after all, they are a couple of heavy hitters and for the most part, are viewed as the brightest young stars in the division. With both men knocking out all but one of their opponents, it’s safe to say that the judges are going to have a night off when they clash at the O2 Arena, in London.

As is often the case in boxing, there’s a storyline behind everything. For Dubois, he’s already faced off against Joyce. Well, in sparring that is. 

Back in 2016, Joyce was gearing up for the Olympic games. Dubois was one of many sparring partners who was brought in to give Joyce some work. The results of that sparring session weren’t exactly competitive to say the least.

With that being said however, it was several years ago and many things have changed since then. 

“I’m a different animal now,” said Dubois during a recent press conference. “You are going to become an old man that night. When I look at you I see a massive target and I am going to let loose. This is my era of boxing and I will dominate after this. All his fans will become my fans. You are getting destroyed. This is a new chapter, this is the next step in my career.”

You would think that since these two have a bit of history together, that there would be some sort of friendly atmosphere between them. Think again. Not only did the two go back and forth, but Dubois made sure to say how he felt the night will end.

“I don’t feel it is going to go the distance, he is going to be taken out in devastating style.”

For a fighter with only 14 professional fights under his belt, Dubois talks a good game. Yet, when juxtaposed with his opponent Joe Joyce, he actually has the edge in terms of the number of fights. But that doesn’t entirely tell the whole story. Joyce is already 34 years of age, with a Silver medal dangling around his neck. He also has two notable wins already. One came in the form of one-time title challenger Bryant Jennings and the other against former Heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne. 

Both Stiverne and Jennings aren’t exactly in their respective primes anymore but hey, the names on his resume are impressive. Dubois on the other hand, has no one even remotely close to the opposition that Joyce has found himself in the ring against.

“Nathan Gorman is you’re only credible win,” said Joyce. “I rate him, you’re on the way up, but maybe you are not ready for me. You are a good fighter, you have great potential, but you are going to unravel in this fight.”

At this point, it’s difficult to say who has the edge going into this one. Each Heavyweight can make a rock solid case for themselves as to why they are going to win this upcoming contest. But no one wants to hear a debate between these two. The fans simply want to see them end the discussion in the ring. Thankfully, that’s exactly what will happen on April 11th.

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McComb, Cully and Joyce Impress in Belfast

Posted on 02/02/2020

By: Oliver McManus

MTK Global began their year at Ulster Hall, Belfast on Saturday night with curtain-raising card. Nine fights featured, after some late drop-offs, with The Public Nuisance Sean McComb serving as the nominal headline act.

The 27 year old was looking to make it ten wins from ten having notched the previous nine in a matter of 14 months. His opponent was a second successive Argentine in the form of Mauro Maximilliano Godoy. Last time out, against Emiliano Rodriguez, there were rocky moments with McComb suffering a cut in the first round and being dropped in the fourth: aside from that it was quite a comfortable eight rounds.

Photo Credit: MTK Global Twitter Account

Godoy brought with him experience totalling 38 fights at both super lightweight and welterweight. The 30 year old is a former national champion as well as a challenger at NABA and WBO Inter-Continental level.

McComb stood tall and long in the ring but Godoy matched him for stature. It was the Belfast fighter who fought on the front foot, though, pressuring his man backwards. After the first punch it looked as though his opponent was in two minds as to what he’d got himself into: there was the occasional erratic swing but, for the most part, he looked static and nervous.

The cagey, creative home fighter looked assured in his approach to the bout. He was picking punches off and responded well to the momentary moments of fire coming his way. McComb was able to soften the ambition of Godoy by controlling the pace of the fight with complete ease.

As the rounds went on and McComb’s on the contest tightened, the Argentine became more fast-and-loose in his punches. Several big swings flew well wide of the mark and, in contrast, McComb was making the most of short, sharp, pointed shots to keep Godoy in check. In the fourth round McComb stepped up the pressure and applied a smart array of artillery. Each punch saw the crowd get a little louder and it was intelligent work from McComb – varying his punches but with real spite behind them all. Godoy survived the round and perhaps those at Ulster Hall thought he was more hurt than he let on.

The fifth and sixth rounded were similar provided no shortage of entertainment. McComb looked in the zone and was piecing together punches together with notable fluidity. Godoy began to get pushed around the ring with McComb able to maneuver the fight into where he wanted it: chipping away at Godoy and not letting him take a single step forwards.

At the conclusion of the sixth round Mauro Godoy was withdrawn from the contest by his corner after complaining about his jaw. Little wonder, either, with McComb finding joy over the six rounds through a sustained, calculated breakdown of a gritty Godoy.

At lightweight the BUI Ireland National title was on offer for the winner between Gary Cully and Joe Fitzpatrick. The contest had ignited during the build-up with the pair going nose-to-nose at the weigh-in. Both men were undefeated (9-0 and 10-0, respectively) ahead of the evenly-matched, highly-anticipated fight.

Naas native Gary Cully, 9-0, came off the back of two six rounders in 2019 whilst Fitzpatrick, form Belfast, finished two fights inside the distance as he returned after an extended absence.

It was the southpaw, Cully, who made an electric start to proceedings. Significantly taller, he fought from distance and encouraged Fitzpatrick to close the gap – which he duly did. Cully cracked his opponent on the cheek, from the smallest of opportunities, and dropped his man. Fitzpatrick found his feet but far too quickly and he was on the backfoot thereafter. He was boxing aggressively but just couldn’t find the right rang and Cully was able to walk him down, once more, with a barrage of shots on the ropes. After about a minute and a half the referee had seen enough to wave the contest off and declare Gary Cully the new BUI National champion.

Davey Oliver Joyce and Lee Haskins kicked off the meaningful action with the pair contesting the vacant WBO European super bantamweight title. Joyce was in his first fight at 122lbs, having been WBO European champion at feather, and was up against a former IBF world champion. Haskins won world honours at bantamweight a couple years back before successful defences against Ivan Morales and Stuart Hall. Despite the pedigree he came into this contest as an underdog.

Mullingar’s Joyce, 32, saw defeat in his last fight as he succumbed to the heavy pressure of Leigh Wood (Commonwealth champion). His Bristolian opponent, 37, had two fights in two years coming into this contest: both routine six rounders.

Haskins emerged with a brace around his knee but moved unhampered. He quickly set about adopting his distinctive stance – leaning slightly over himself. The first round was a strong start as he planted feet and looked to flick punches off at a concerted rate. His right jab continually patted away at Joyce and some eye-catching combinations signalled his intent.

Pete Taylor, Joyce’s coach, was clear with his instructions: “you’re not punching enough.” The momentum stayed with Haskins, though, who was finding space to Joyce’s body with a left hook on a number of occasions. The former world champion was showing his experience in waiting for Joyce’s elbow to raise slightly before following through.

The Mullingar-man found his range after a couple of rounds and engaged proactively from the third round. He rallied with his punches and began to load up after, himself, finding tangible success. Shots were coming his way but, now, the heavier fighter was showing that weight advantage: walking forward and rifling shots towards Haskins. There was plenty of out-put but it wasn’t definitive as to how many were catching Haskins clean.

His opponent fought back and landed punches here and there that reminded you of his class. For the most part that was irregular and Joyce was able to keep his nose ahead with a more sustained body of work. The younger man was trudging forward and relaxing at the shoulders to land more significant shots. Haskins didn’t look overly troubled, mind, but was definitely on the back foot.

At the halfway stage the momentum was clearly in the home corner and Haskins hit the deck after swivelling on his leg. He looked in some discomfort as he rose – perhaps the strapped knee was hurt in the process – and Joyce was striking an open, target, almost, with the Bristolian stepping gingerly. Howard Foster stepped in as a result towards the close of the fifth and Davey Joyce was declared the winner after a thoroughly entertaining fight.

An under-the-radar eight rounder pitted Lewis Crocker and John Thain together in the welterweight division. Undefeated Crocker, 10-0, was greeted with rapturous respect from a home crowd for a real step-up contest. Thain, 17-4, hadn’t been seen a ring for nineteen months – last in action against Larry Ekundayo in July 2018.

Crocker led with his rangey right hand against a fighter who was continually on the move – twitching and shuffling his way across the ring. Belfast’s Crocker looked patient as he got to grips with Thain’s style and boxed within himself to an extent; just allowing himself time to think and adjust.

The eminently affable Scotsman stuck to his guns and enjoyed success with a sturdy jab that kept Crocker ticking over. Heavier shots came from Crocker but he was certainly being made to work by a wiley opponent. The undefeated home fighter boxed with more freedom as the rounds progressed and looked comfortable at the pace he was fighting. Comfortable stuff from Crocker: 79-73 he took the fight to advance to 11-0.

Earlier in the evening there were wins for Padraig McCrory who extended his record to 10-0 with six rounds against Lewis van Poetsch; Callum Bradley made it 4-0 at super feather after out-pointing Michael Horabin across four rounds; Ruairi Dalton beat Jose Aguilar 40-36 to record his second pro win; Damien Sullivan returned to winning ways with four rounds against Jiri Svacina to go 2-1 and; Pierce O’Leary went 4-0 after shutting out Liam Richards over four rounds.

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Joyce vs. Jennings and Dubois vs. Gorman Fight Preview

Posted on 07/12/2019

By: Oliver McManus

A Saturday night dedicated to the big bruising heavyweights of Frank Warren’s stable – Joe Joyce vs Bryant Jennings and Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman at the top of the bill – promises to provide serious entertainment. The quality of the show, however, runs deeper than many UK fight nights of recent memory with three more title fights being televised; Liam Williams vs Karim Achour, Sunny Edwards vs Hiram Gallardo and Archie Sharp vs Jordan McCorry.

Dubois-Gorman is officially granted headliner status within the plethora of quality contests with the young dancing partners fighting for the vacant British title. Both men deserve credit, from the off, for their willingness to engage in such an evenly matched contest when, undoubtedly, easier nights would have been readily available. It is also pleasing to see them give so much credit and respect for the Lord Lonsdale belt amid a generation of fighters where the British title seems to be losing prestige and priority.

Dubois, 11-0 (10KOs), has long been the prized jewel of Warren’s growing collection of prospects and he’s been developing steadily since turning professional in April 2017. The middle ‘phase’ of his career, thus far, saw Dubois take on successive domestic names – AJ Carter, Dorian Darch, DL Jones and Tom Little – and put them away in devastating fashion. Of course the calibre of that quartet is vastly inferior but that run of fights saw Dubois collect English and Southern Area titles all before his 21st birthday.

The fight against Little saw the Peacock’s fighter piece together his shots sumptuously and, as we’ve seen on plenty of occasions, it was the body shots that did the damage; Little down in the fourth and then finished off in the fifth. Subsequently he has faced Kevin Johnson, Razvan Cojanu and Richard Lartey in a mixed bag of performances. The 10 rounder against Kevin Johnson was quite a monotonous affair with Dubois struggling to shake up any variety to his rhythm in the face of ‘Kingpin’s’ repeated dour negativity.

Cojanu and Lartey were more ‘traditional’ performances from Dubois as he lived up to his ‘Dynamite’ nickname – Cojanu was dealt with decisively inside two rounds with the most composed, well-measured performance of Dubois’ short career whilst the Lartey fight was a scrappier affair where the 21 year old ‘got involved’ but took care of business inside four rounds.

He’ll be providing the ‘fire’ to this fight, a refreshing contest, possessing the reputation for brutality and mesmerising power. His technique, equally, deserves respect with the finish against Lartey coming after three consecutive jabs prevented the Ghanaian from unfurling a shot of his own before Dubois pulled out the right hand and slamming into his opponent’s face.

Gorman, 16-0 (11KOs), shapes up as the more methodical fighter with natural athleticism and agility over brute strength and shoulders the size of fridges. The 23 year old has, however, made better use of his body since he inked a promotional contract with Warren and whilst any weight change has remained negligable he is far better proportioned than in some of his previous contests.

That strength and conditioning work is abundantly clear when you take into consideration his ability to work at a high tempo for extended periods of time. His fast hands are the obvious stand out trying to piece together a compilation of his best work but, actually, Ricky Hatton’s fighter seems a lot more naturally varied in his shot selection. An obvious comparisom to make is with his contest against Kevin Johnsom in which Gorman was able to remain on his toes and looked to try different things as the rounds went on – almost just to loosen up and see what was working.

He, too, is no stranger to fighting domestic fighters having faced Dominic Akinlade, at the time billed as big step up, in the same month that his upcoming protagonist made his debut; therein lies an obvious advantage. That extra 16 months, five figthts as it were, of professional experience means Gorman has gone through the motions that Dubois is currently – boxing puberty, if you like. The Nantwich man, let’s not forget, hasn’t always been in favour with Warren and has built himself up from the small halls of Waslall and Stoke-on-Trent in order to get here. Inherantly that instills extra grit within you.

Whilst both fighters are chomping at the bit to get the first real ‘livewire’ on their record you’d suggest Gorman is the more emotionally invested in this contest with Dubois refusing, really, to shake from being a man of few words. Gorman, meanwhile, seems agitated and eager to replace Dubois as ‘THE heavyweight prospect’.

A tale of two contrasting styles but two men that deserve respect for their willingness to get it on with little bones made about it – despite living in an era where the ‘0’ is glamourised as much as Gollum’s precious ring. As long as it doesn’t end up like Jack Catterall vs Ohara Davies, we’ll be in for a treat.

Joe Joyce (9-0) takes a significant step up in class in facing Bryant Jennings (24-3) in defence of the Juggernaut’s WBA ‘Gold’ title. In spite of the farcical title at stake this should be the sternest test of Joyce’s career – which has peaked and troughed dramatically – and the set-up an assault of the governing bodies for a world title.

Jennings, from Philadelphia, arrives in London for his first contest outside of the US and the seventh bout of his ‘comeback’ that resumed in 2017 following a loss to Luis Ortiz. ‘By-By’ was last in action against Oscar Rivas in a contest that he looked to be winning quite comfortably, until a resurgent Rivas turned the scew in the final round to knock the 34 year old out.

The other two losses only other loss to blight Jennings’ record is a wide points loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and the Philadelphian was hitting a strong run of form until encountering Rivas; dealing with Alexander Dimitrenko and Joey Dawejko at a canter. This, likewise for Joyce, is a big step up in comparison to recent opponents. The American is typically composed in his approach to a fight as he looks to pick off rounds and nullify the work of his counterpart rather than any all-out aggression.

The same can be said for Joyce who on a fair few ocassions has had his opponent in trouble – most notably against Iago Kiladze – but hasn’t shown that ‘nasty’ state of mind to callously go for the kill. Obviously against opponents such as Kiladze you’ll get a second bite of the cherry but that won’t be there when it comes to facing a world champion so I’d like to see an increased urgency from Joyce, especially when his opponent is there for the taking.

If Dubois vs Gorman is going to provide the fireworks for then night then the second heavyweight clash might be more of a slow-burner, a mellowed encounter but certainly no less of an opportunity for Joyce, a heavy favourite, to put in a needded performance to get him out of the ‘who needs him’ club.

A win on Saturday night for Liam Williams (20-2-1) will put the Welshman in a strong position for a world title challenge later in the year. He faces Karim Achour (27-5-3) for the WBC ‘Silver’ title in Williams’ third consecutive title fight at middleweight. In those two previous contests, against Mark Heffron and Joe Mullender, the Clydach Vale man has looked menacingly spiteful with a calculated breakdown of Heffron to claim the British title. His first defence against, an over-matched, Mullender finished in barbaric fashion following a heavy knock-down with one punch sending Mullender face first to the canvas.

Achour will provide seasoned opposition for Williams having been a professional for 11 years but his losses will be enough provide confidence for the home fighter. The most recent of which came against David Lemieux, for two WBC trinkets, in which Achour was embarrased for the 12 rounds – rarely landing a punch and looking completely out of his depth.

Given Williams’ experience of being in big fights – two scintilatting bouts with Liam Williams – you can be sure that he’ll remain a consumate professional but there’s a clear gulf in quality between the two men and it should only be a matter of time before that’s exploited.

Sunny Edwards (11-0) fights for the IBF International title at super flyweight where a win should send him into the Top 5 with the governing body. His opponent, Hiram Gallardo (12-2-2), is an unknown quantity to British fight fans but the available footage suggests he’ll be similar to Junior Granados, Edwards’ last opponent of 2018.

Edwards has quickly risen up the rings with Frank Warren’s table to secure his place as a regular TV fighter and he always delivers on that faith. The 23 year old is always bouncing around the ring, quite literally, and it is his footwork that leaves most of his opponents unstuck; they just don’t quite know where to go and then end up being within the ‘strike zone’ for Edwards to flurry away with a series of punches. Against Matos he was particularly impressive with the way he dipped the legs and then sprung up into a real powerful left hand, bolting diagonally upwards and doing some real damage to the ear-drum of his Portuguese opponent.

The last title fight of the nght sees Archie Sharp (15-0) make the first defence of his WBO European super featherweight title against Jordan McCorry (18-5-1). Sharp was initially scheduled to face Lucas Ballingall in March before injury forced him to pull out; he returned from that injury in April with a two-round blow-out against Sergio Gonzalez. Being part of a packed super featherweight division that features Sam Bowen and Zelfa Barrett, to name just two, there are plenty of fights to pique the interest of Sharp. He’ll look to deal with McCorry in more convincing fashion than, stablemate, Bowen did in March.

McCorry lost that encounter via a ninth round TKO on a night where the Scotsman didn’t seem quite right. Warnings came thick and fast from Marcus McDonnell and it prompted McCorry to become overly cautious through fear of disqualification so it will be interesting to see if we get a more relaxed fight this time around.

It’s an action packed night of boxing from Frank Warren, who seems to have had a kick up the jacksie, where entertainment should be rife from top to bottom but it’s all about the glamour division, isn’t it? Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman – two unbeaten, young, hungry prospects looking to win the British title and a spot at the centre of Warren’s plans. Let the best man win because doors will open, that’s for certain.

Tune in to the whole night of action live on BT Sport from 7pm on Saturday 13th and airing on ESPN+ across the States.

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Dubai Fight Night Results: Joyce Stops Tiffney In 7; Lasisi Decisions Blandon

Posted on 04/05/2019

By: Ste Rowen

In the heat of the Dubai Friday night, in the Emirates Golf Club, decked out in glorious white armchairs for the attendees, David Oliver Joyce, now 10-0 (8KOs) stopped Stephen Tiffney in brutal fashion inside seven rounds. The co-main event saw Aliu Lasisi score a unanimous decision victory over Ricardo Blandon to claim the vacant WBC ‘International’ belt.

Tiffney, 10-1 (4KOs) heading into tonight, suffered a small cut to his right eye in the first two rounds after a positive start from both men. Joyce was clearly targeting the body of the Scot at every opportunity, unleashing vicious hooks that would help his as the fight drew on.

Photo Credit: MTK Global Twitter Page

Past the halfway mark there wasn’t much between both boxers, in terms of scoring shots and in the closeness of their fighting styles in the ring. Tiffney was having more success with counters, but Joyce’s swift hooks continued to punish his foe’s body. Then with 30 seconds left of round 7, the Irishman landed a wonderful flurry of pin-point punches to drop the Scot. Tiffney rose but David went in for the finisher, and as the bell rang for the end of the round, the referee waved it off as Stephen headed back to his corner. The correct call, if a little late.

The victor and now WBO European featherweight champion, draped in the Irish tricolour, spoke post-fight,

“It was an unbelievable performance…I’ve lived like a professional for the first time ever. The right meals, right training, right speed. I have to give props to my team.

I can mix it with the best. I boxed Valdez in the amateurs in 2009 and they all know I can mix it with them…To all the featherweights out there; David Oliver is in town!’’

The co-feature for the night saw the vacant WBC ‘International’ super-flyweight belt on the line for Nicaraguan, Ricardo Blandon and Aliu Bamidele Lasisi of Nigeria.

Scheduled for 12 rounds, Lasisi was the unbeaten fighter heading into tonight, but it was the 10-1 (6KOs) boxer, Blandon that tried to claim the middle of the ring early. The Nigerian responded well though, stepping off for a moment and firing his own accumulation of jabs. At the end of round 3 Blandon landed an overhand right, not cleanly, but enough to force the flash knockdown and set Lasisi behind on the scorecards.

A round later, the Nigerian was deducted a point for a headbutt which quite clearly seemed to be accidental. But the Dubai resident continued to push on, forcing the Central American to take a back foot and struggle at distance, as the bout headed past the halfway mark. Both men continued to battle it out in a scrappy but fairly quick-paced bout as it drew on into the championship rounds.

Then at the beginning of the 10th, Lasisi landed a quick-fisted uppercut to drop Ricardo and put Aliu into the ascendency. But Blandon then shook up the unbeaten fighter with a thudding right hand at the end of the 11th. Lasisi arguably being saved by the bell. Both men put it on the line for the final three minutes and it was close heading to the judge’s scorecards.

The three scores were announced as, 114-111 all for Lasisi who improves his record to 13-0 (9KOs). Tonight’s victory puts Aliu into a strong position to fight the winner of Sor Rungvisai vs. Estrada 2, next for the WBC world title proper, and he spoke immediately after,

‘‘Blandon is a good fighter, I thought I’d knock him out, but it didn’t o like that. He’s a tough guy. It was great to fight in Dubai.’’

The Undercard…
Emirati lightweight, Majid Al Naqbi did his best to impress on his debut bout in front of his home fans with a frenetic but dominant 4th round stoppage over 0-2, Vladimir Lytki.

Southpaw lightweight, Sultan Zaurbek beat up Chenghong Tao before finishing the bout with a thudding hook and add to his now 6-0 (4KOs) pro record.

Debutant Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan unleashed two hammer-like left hands to despatch with Indonesian journeyman, Anthony Holt.

Cesar Mateo Tapia scored a final round stoppage over Gaganpreet Sharma. The super-middleweight left it till the 8th to add his 6th professional KO to his record, moving to 10-0 (6KOs).

Home-crowd favourite and Dubai resident, Larry Abarra picked up a six-round decision win to improve to 8-3-1 (5KOs), over super-bantam, Raymond Commey, whose record now stands at 19-8 (10KOs).

Born in Saudi Arabia, raised in England, super-lightweight, Zuhayr Al-Qahtani earnt a 40-36 (x2), 39-37, unanimous decision win over SK Saheb, 2-1. It was the first time the Saudi-Southpaw, now 6-0 (0KOs) was fighting an opponent with a winning record since turning professional n 2017.

The first stoppage of the night saw 154lber, Ablikhaiyr Shegaliyev, 2-0 (1KO), from Kazakhstan drop the Georgian, Teimuraz Abuladze three times en route to a simple 1st round KO.

Armenian, Anahit Aroyan, moved to 3-0 (0KOs) with a 40-36 decision over fellow female bantamweight, Nongnun Sor Praithong.

Super-bantamweight, Hasibullah ‘The Kalashnikov’ Ahmadi, of Afghanistan improved to 4-0 (0KOs) with a split decision victory over Thai-journeyman, Manot Comput.

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Showtime Boxing Results: Eubank Defeats DeGale, Joyce Batters Stiverne

Posted on 02/23/2019

By: Ste Rowen

Chris Eubank Jr forced himself into the super-middleweight world scene tonight with a deserved unanimous decision victory over former world champion, James DeGale.

Now improving his record to 28-2 (21KOs), the victor spoke post-fight,

‘‘I knew he was gonna come in there and run and use his boxing skills. I’ve been working a lot on my jab…The game plan worked. Smart pressure. Not getting too ahead of myself.
I dominated pretty much every single round…A lot of people said I was gonna lose, and now I’m onto big and better things.’’

Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account

The defeated DeGale, now 25-3-1 (15KOs), sounding a little dazed also spoke, ‘‘I’ve left my mark in boxing…I didn’t do enough, but when you’re in there with someone like Chris on you; punches you don’t even see.

I’ve been to the heights of boxing. If I call it a day now…’’

It was cold in the O2 Arena, but not for long.

As James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr drew nearer, the atmosphere felt more claustrophobic. As though the crowd was inching their seats forwards every time the stewards looked away. By the time the main-event fighters were in the ring, the audience was practically breathing down their necks.

From the 1st round it was setup perfectly, DeGale in all-black, Eubank in all-white but both decided to size each other up through the first. DeGale, in the southpaw stance, allowed himself to become a little too susceptible to Eubank’s right hand which forced a small cut to James’ left eye early on.

The first minute of round 2 is where the action came alive. Eubank Jr landed a sharp left hook that unsteadied DeGale and, through a flurry of punches, eventually forced the referee into recognising that James had been knocked down. DeGale’s experience was telling as he survived the rest of the round, but it was obvious that Chris was well on top.

In the corner, the former IBF champion was complaining about something in his eye – it was a bad sign for a man already behind. But Eubank, like his opponent, sustained a cut this time under his right eye, it didn’t stop the Brighton-man from ending the 4th the stronger. Through to the 7th, Eubank stalked the perceived boxer across the ring whilst the former gold medallist did very little to reply.

As round 7 ended, DeGale stuck his tongue out to his opponent, which was an odd move considering Chris seemingly bossed the end of the round. DeGale kept switching between southpaw and orthodox, but neither was breaking through.

As the fight headed into the 10th Eubank seemed well on top. DeGale hit the canvas for the second time as Eubank landed a beauty of a left hook that shook up the former world champion, forced James onto the ropes and eventually the ground. DeGale survived, but it was clear he needed the KO, but it was Eubank Jr that came out swinging. By the end of the 11th, career-southpaw DeGale was orthodox and everywhere.

Both fighters raised their arms as the final bell rang but it seemed cleared who’d won. DeGale, the legitimate former world title holder had fallen well short.

Of course it’s never a chore to hear Jimmy Lennon Jr and it wasn’t this time as he read out the judge’s cards of, 114-112, 115-112, 117-109 all for Eubank Jr.

Joe Joyce vs. Bermane Stiverne

Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce took another step up in quality tonight as the British Olympian (2016 Silver) scored a 6th round stoppage of former world champion, Bermane Stiverne.
Dominant from beginning to end, the Commonwealth champion, now 8-0 (8KOs), spoke post-fight,

‘‘Big respect to Stiverne. He was very tough, still game, still tough. Only Wilder with that phenomenal power could take him out…My able condition in Big Bear.

Big things to come. Next one for the WBA ‘Regular’. Couple of weeks off and then back in the gym…I’ve barred all (The top heavyweights) bar Wilder, but I’m coming.’’

In a fight designated as a WBA eliminator Joyce had his chin checked at least twice in the 1st round but seemed unaffected and continued to pursue his prey. His shots may look slow, but Joe’s arms are long and thudding once landed and clearly leave an effect. Stiverne looked apprehensive as he stepped off his stool for the 2nd however he did begin to throw back, but only for a brief spell. The ‘Juggernaut’ fired clubbing shot after clubbing shot without reply for most of the round. Testament to the former world champion, Bermane for staying upright.

Round 3 brought the first knockdown as Joyce landed a lengthy right hook that sent the American into the ropes and forced the knockdown. Bermane continued but it felt pointless. Stiverne looked drunk as he tried to evade Joyce’s heavy combinations but survived into the 6th.

Joe dominated behind the left-hand jab until he seemed to switch flavour and fired hook and power shot continuously, forcing referee Howard Foster into stopping the fight midway through round six. There were no complaints from the away fighter.

Lee Selby vs. Omar Douglas

Fighting in his first lightweight bout, and for a minor title at 135lb, Lee ‘Lightning’ Selby bounced back from his May 2018 defeat to Josh Warrington to rough it out in a twelve round unanimous decision victory over American, Omar Douglas.

‘‘That was one of the toughest.’’ Selby said. ‘‘In the fight I kept on undoing their (His cut-men’s) good work.

Douglas was supposed to be a big puncher and I held his shots well…If my management says I’m fighting Anthony Joshua tomorrow, I wouldn’t turn it down.’’

In his signature white and gold shorts, Selby of Wales, forced an energetic start onto the American. Lee clearly wanted to make an early impression in what was a new division for him. Douglas’ dreads (white at the start but red by the end) were wrapped up much like his hands, so every time Selby landed a clean jab, Omar’s head fired back and made him look like Ridley Scott’s Alien.
But towards the end of round two a bloody cut on the eye of Lee Selby opened up, much like in his fight vs. Warrington. It didn’t stutter his performance for that round, but it did create a new element to the fight. The Welshman continued to fire off well, despite the cut, but it was clear Lee wasn’t as urgent in his offence as before the cut.

Omar has spent his career bouncing between 130-135 and as the rounds drew on he was giving Lee, who’d jumped 9lb in weight, a rough entry into the lightweight division. By the time of the final bell it was close as well as clear that ‘Lightning’ had taken the rough alleyway to enter 135lb.

Final scorecards were 116-112, 116-112, 115-114 all in favour of Lee Selby.

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Showtime PPV Undercard Results: Hurd, Ortiz, and Joyce Stomp their Competition

Posted on 12/01/2018

By: William Holmes

The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s Showtime PPV offering between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

The opening bout of the night was between Joe Joyce (6-0) and Joe Hanks (23-2) in the heavyweight division.

Joe Joyce was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics and has stopped every opponent he has faced as a professional.

Joyce was the taller fighter, but looked a little awkward around the ring and was stunned with some decent combinations by Hanks early on. However, when Joyce connected with a straight right hand it hurt Hanks and had him momentarily stunned. Joyce was able to follow that up with a jab and a left hook to the chin that sent Hanks crashing to the mat.

Hanks struggled to get up by the count of ten and protested when the referee waived the fight off, but he looked badly hurt at the time of the stoppage.

Joe Joyce wins by way of knockout at 2:25 of round one.

The next fight of the night was between Luis Ortiz(29-1) and Travis Kauffman (32-2) in the heavyweight division.

Ortiz is an elite fighter with a deep amateur background and the difference in talent was evident early on. Ortiz had Kauffman backing up early on with a stead streak of jabs and kept it up throughout most of the fight.

Kauffman got hit with a low blow in the third round and got some time to recover, but got tagged with a good combination by Ortiz after his break in what may have been the best shots of the night at that point.

Kauffman continued to get moved corner to corner in the fourth and fifth rounds as he was backwards. Ortiz landed a vicious straight left hand in the sixth round that sent Kauffman to the mat and Ortiz celebrating jumping in the corner. But it may have ben premature as Kauffman got back to his feet.

Ortiz picked Kauffman apart for the remainder of the sixth round and landed some solid straight right hands but wasn’t able to finish Kauffman off.

Ortiz had Kauffman backing up in the seventh round and sent him to the mat again in the eighth round with an overhand right to the temple. Kauffman got back to his feet again and took several more hard shots, including a left uppercut, but was able to survive the round.

Ortiz went for the stoppage in the final two rounds, an landed a low blow and a near knockdown in the ninth round that was ruled a push. He did land a left hand in the tenth and final round to score his third knockdown of the fight, but Kauffman got up to his feet again, only to get tagged with another left hook that had him badly hurt before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

Louis Ortiz at wins by TKO at 1:58 of the tenth and final round.

The final fight on the undercard was between Jarrett Hurd (22-0) and Jason Welborn (24-6) in the super welterweight division.

Welborn was pressing the pace in the opening round and kept his head in the chest of Hurd and fought the fight in close and appeared to do well.

Hurd pressed behind his jab in the second round and appeared to throw a large number of left jabs and hooks. Hurd was rolling well with the punches of Welborn in the third round, but Welborn may have stolen that round with a flurry at the end.

Welborn opened up the fourth round with some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes and connected with some clean hooks to the head while Hurd’s back was against the ropes. Hurd covered up and took the shots of Welborn before unloading a right uppercut to the body that sent Welborn to the canvas.

Hurd took some heavy shots in the process, but wins by knockout at 1:55 of the fourth round.
Rd 4: Weblron landed some heavy shots on Hurd by the ropes. Some hard combos. Hurt taking on some good shots. Hurd fighting back. Body shot sends him down. For ten. KO!!

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PBC on FS1 Results: Joyce and Figueroa Win

Posted on 10/01/2018

Over in Ontario, California – around 35 miles east of Los Angeles – Victor Ortiz and John Molina were meant to be facing off over the course of a scheduled 12 rounds with both men looking for one final crack at the big time. That was until Ortiz got himself in a spot of bother with the police, having handed himself in on charges of sexual assault – a wholly serious affair – promoter Tom Brown was forced to bump Brandon Figueroa vs Oscar Escandon to main event with The Hearbreaker, Figueroa, looking to move 17 and 0 against the gritty Colombian and former world title challenger.

Flying high as a professional, Brandon Figueroa was seeking to claim the biggest scalp of his career in the form of Oscar Escandon and with a streak of three successive knockouts, he certainly fancied his chances pre-fight of getting the job done within the scheduled 10 rounds.

Figueroa stood firm at the centre of the ring, statuesque for the first thirty seconds before resting on the shoulder of Escandon and working the inside pockets, getting big shots his Colombian opponent along with the occasional swift overhand.

Escandon looked to push the case for himself and extended his jab frequently, looking busy and fresh with his work but landing nothing of particular substance. Figueroa, on the other hand, was landing the more noticeable shots with a cracking straight left landing flush to the face of his opponent.

Fighting in the light blue shorts, Figueroa took a heavy tumble in the second – and a tumble, only – and sought to double up on the jab as he switched stances periodically. A real tussle emerged on the ropes with both men firing across the horizon, Escandon tagged the younger boxer with a god body shot to bring a wry smile from the face of Figueroa.

A real postage stamp fight over the opening third of the fight, both men were mixing it with good shots of their own but it was the younger fighter that, perhaps predictably, was showing the better energy and landed a couple of solid left hooks to keep Escandon in check.

Escandon was seeking to echo the plan of Figueroa in working on the inside and wearing down the body and whilst he was finding moderate success, it was hard to claim he was winning the fight.

Cut above the left eye, it made no difference to the strategy and confidence of Figueroa who snapped in and out of range from his counterpart but remained ever constant with accurate jabs and crisp left hand shots.

Round 5 of a scheduled 10 saw the fight from a little more with Figueroa starting to dictate the pace of the bout to greater effectiveness, good left hooks from the body saw Escandon visibly slow in his movements but he kept firing shots into his opponent – showing plenty of guts.

Figueroa snapped back immediately, hurting his man but chose not to follow up in pursuit of a stoppage and the rhythm continued into the latter half of the fight with both men finding pockets of success throughout each fight but Figueroa controlling much of the bout with his superior work-rate and more vicious punch intention.

Just when the bout looked destined for a routine points victory, Figueroa wound up and landed a flush right uppercut to the chin of his man to send his to the canvas in an instant – Escandon tried to get back up but only collapsed back, a sickening punch and a mesmerising knockout. Job done for Brandon Figueroa.

Joe Joyce, the British protagonist, was making his Stateside debut against Iago Kiladze, the Georgian Grizzly Bear, with the Juggernaut seeking to make an immediate splash over in America.

Up against Kiladze this fight was always going to be a “Joe Joyce showcase” with there being very little genuine hope of Kiladze springing an upset but the former cruiserweight prospect is known for his ability to make situations difficult so it was pertinent that Joyce stuck to the fundamentals that have seen him go to 5 and 0 in the space of a year and claim the Commonwealth title along the way.

The arts graduate from Putney, London, was punching downwards against a smaller opponent but Kiladze scampered across the ring during the early phases, skipping his way along the ropes on his toes and evading the awkward limbs of Joyce.

With eyes set on his Georgian counterpart in a manner akin to a bird of prey, Joyce never looked anything but focussed and mirrored Kiladze’s movement to an inch, Joyce began to target the body and, as he did, Kiladze threw back some adventurous shots of his own.

Into the second round we moved and a huge hook, seemingly from nowhere, sent Kiladze to the canvas with an audible thud. Sensing the stoppage was near, Joyce continued to pepper the body of his more experienced opponent, sinking his hands into the ribcage of Kiladze.

Kiladze, beginning to look worse for wear, seemed now to stagger as opposed to scamper and a left hook followed by a right and another left to the head of Kiladze saw his head bobble around like a ship in a stormy sea – the scarlet red face of Kiladze was a testament to the power that Joyce possesses.

The British heavyweight began to loosen up as the fight progressed and towards the end of a, relatively dull, third round, he exploded into the body of Kiladze – who was on the ropes – twisting the full power of his torso into the shots and dropping the Georgian to the canvas for a second time.

For the third time in the fight Kiladze hit the floor, in the fifth round, with a shot that, actually, was just a tentative, pawing jab from the big Putney man but it was enough, he’d had enough and returned to his corner, to secure Joe Joyce a 6th win and his 6th by knockout.

In the opening heavyweight bout of the evening Efe Ajagba (6-0, 5KOs) took on a fellow unbeaten professional in Nick Jones (7-0, 5KOs) with the 2016 Olympian hoping to get a stiffer contest than his, now infamous, one second bout versus Curtis Harper back in August.

Standing 6foot 5inches tall, Ajagba came into the ring looking like a figure sculpted from clay, impeccably formed and he led with a rangy, reaching left jab before landing some big right hands early on to signal his intentions from the off.

Looking patient from the centre of the ring Ajagba was in clear control even from the immediate offerings and Jones began to soak shots up almost instantaneously, several clubbing rights landing to the temple of Jones with those snapping hands of Ajagba breaking Jones’ guard with an alarming frequency.

With Jones ignoring the warning signs, Ajagba barely even flicked up a gear as he pieced together the punches with ease, throwing a soft left jab to tee up a crunchy nut of a right hook, snapping the neck of his counterpart back to send him crumpling to the canvas. A first round stoppage for Efe Ajagba within two minutes of the bell – the 24 year old moves to 7 and 0 with five of those victories now coming in the opening round.

Earlier on in the evening Jesse Rodriguez advanced his unbeaten record to seven without defeat when he issued Ediwn Reyes with an eight round shellacking, the scorecards were 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73, whilst Stephen Fulton dazzled over the course of eight rounds against, 102 fight veteran, German Meraz with some hard-hitting body shots and impressive hand speed – the scores for that contest were 80-71 across the board as Fulton moves to 14 and 0.

Brandon Figueroa lived up to his name, breaking the heart of Escandon but the real story of the night was Joe Joyce who lived up to expectations and moves on to December 1st, the undercard of Wilder-Fury, with both Luis Ortiz and Gerald Washington as rumoured opponents.

The world awaits!

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PBC on Fox Sports 1 Preview: Joyce vs. Kiladze, Figueroa vs. Escandon

Posted on 09/27/2018

By: Oliver McManus

*The main event featuring Victor Ortiz has been cancelled as of 9/27/18.

Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce touches down on US soil at the weekend as he looks to continue his rocketing rise up the rankings against Iago Kiladze over eight rounds. The card itself is headlined by a 12 round welterweight contest between Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr with the pair, who’s combined ages hit 66, looking for one final crack at the jackpot.

Truth be told, both gentleman look as though their best days are behind them but you suspect Ortiz will come into it the more confident with the ever brash 31 year old having held talks to fight Brandon Rios earlier in the year – Ortiz admits that he will be throwing fire from the very off, those are his intentions anyway, and the 12 rounds he shared with Devon Alexander, whilst not of any particularly notable quality, will stand him in good stead.

Photo Credit:PBC Twitter Account

Molina is in his second contest since a brutal, one-sided demolition loss to Terence Crawford – a fight that saw him knocked out in the eighth round – and that initial comeback fight, against Ivan Redkach, was far from impressive. A reckless fight, Molina was dropped before sending his counterpart to the canvas twice to claim a fourth round stoppage but that was a result that flattered to deceive.

These two know that, with all due respect, they are fairly inconsequential names in the welterweight division as it stands with no major draw for those at the top, if they are to get back into the mix where they are even being TALKED about in the same sentence as Amir Khan, Manny Pacuqiao and so on then they need to pull it out of the bag and send a statement come Sunday night.

Joe Joyce will be in his sixth paid contest and goes up against the ‘Georgian Grizzly Bear’ in Iago Kiladze. Once hailed as a prospect to watch in the cruiserweight division – some eight years back – Kiladze returned to the ring in 2017 as a heavyweight, following a two year absence, and since then has racked up wins against Byron Polley and Pedro Rodriguez before becoming the prey against Adam Kownacki and Michael Hunter.

Both those defeats came this year – January and June, respectively – and the odds are stacked firmly against him this time around. He’ll give it a go, though, he always does but this fight is more about getting Joyce the American exposure that Ringstar crave so desperately.

In a career filled with late replacements and disappointing opponents, this is the 2nd best foe that Joyce has looked to slay thus far and with a combined 13 rounds under his belt – an average 2.6 per contest – it wouldn’t do him harm to get some rounds under his belt.

Bring on that Putney-Mexican hybrid style of dancing after the fight because Joyce looks certain to win unless Kiladze can produce a colossal upset.

Also in the heavyweight division is Efe Ajagba who will be hoping to get more of a challenge than he did last time out – Curtis Harper, that’s all that needs to be said – and he shares the ring with, also unbeaten, Nick Jones over the course of scheduled six rounds.

Brandon The Heartbreaker Figueroa will look to continue his impressive development by adding Oscar Escandon to a CV already 16 names long – his last three fights have seen him emerge victorious thanks to a knockout and it seems that, as the 21 year old goes through the motions, he’s really growing into his man power and that’s not meant in a disrespectful way but his body is still filling out and if you look at the 3, 4lbs that he’s put – on the scales – over the past couple years then you start to understand where that extra power is coming from.

Escandon, vastly experienced, is looking to cause an upset and resurrect his career which is currently on a drastically downward spiral having lost three of his last four and the last two back to back – against Gary Russel Jr and Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Neither are opponents to sniff at, by no means, but you get the impression that Escandon is becoming a bit of a gatekeeper for these up and coming prospects to get a name on their resumé.

Two ageing sluggers, a James DeGale hoping to look as good as he did four years ago, 11 unbeaten prospects – Figueroa, Joyce, Davies, Ajagba, to name four – and a debutant. Sunday night on FOX Sports 1 delivers it all and it is set to be a stonker.

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Joe Joyce Defeats Ivica Bacurin

Posted on 06/15/2018

By: Ste Rowen


Heavyweight Commonwealth champion, Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce made it an early night as he knocked out 30-13-1 (19KOs), Ivica Bacurin in the 1st round, for his 5th consecutive stoppage win.

Coming in as a last-minute replacement for original opponent, Richard Lartey, Bacurin’s resume includes the likes of Carlos Takam and Dillian Whyte. He was stopped by both those men, in fact Ivica always falls short whenever he takes a step up and unluckily for the Croatian, Joyce was another step up.

The ‘Juggernaut’, now 5-0 (5KOs), was on his opponent from the first bell, setting off heavy 1-2s as Bacurin did his best to circle the ring backwards. But with 1:17 left on the clock of the 1st round, Joyce shot a right and left to the top of Ivica’s head, sending him down and keeping him there.

Hughie Fury was in attendance at York Hall, and it seems a British-Commonwealth unification bout would be the obvious fight to make next.

Undercard Report…

Michael ‘Venom’ Page, a former kickboxer and BellatorMMA fighter, moved to 2-0 with a 2nd KO of, 1-5, Michal Ciach of Poland.

Aiming to ply his trade at light heavyweight, the enigmatic Page, much like his debut performance back in October, was unconventional in his approach to taking out Ciach. Low hands, bolo feints, and jelly legs all within the first round, ‘Venom’ jabbed at his foe, keeping the Pol ineffective and, with just over 40 seconds left on the 1st, dropped his opponent for the first time.

Immediately into the 2nd round, Page landed a huge right hand, sending Ciach to the canvas for a second time and signalling an end to the fight. MVP spoke post-fight,

It’s a crazy style, it’s not normal…What I find difficult is, people know who I am so it’s gonna be difficult to call out named fighters.’

Page’s debut win came against 2-11-1, Jonathan Castano so it’s unlikely we’ll see ‘Venom’ fast tracked like his gym mate, Joyce, but it will no doubt be entertaining whoever it is.


Savannah Marshall outclassed 8-2 (5KOs), Alejandra Ayala with a 2nd round stoppage to move to 3-0 (2KOs). The 2014 Commonwealth middleweight champion had already dropped her Mexican opponent before she forced Ayala into the corner and was unable to counter the power shots Marshall was sending her way, before the referee called an end to the bout.

As the only boxer to beat the current IBF and WBC super-middleweight champion Claressa Shields, the ‘Silent Assassin’ will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on the unified champion’s matchup against Hanna Gabriels, which takes place next week in Detroit.


Both fighting in their pro debuts heavyweights, George Fox, 26 and Phil Williams, 32, fought out a close matchup, which saw Fox, nicknamed ‘Future’ come out the victor with a 40-37 scorecard in his favour.


Super welterweight Tom Ansell handed Fonz Alexander his 83rd career loss (31st in a row) with a 40-35 decision victory.Now 4-0 (1KO) Ansell, 25, landed a huge overhand right in the 1st round to drop his opponent but, though the result was rarely in doubt, he was forced to go the 4-round distance with journeyman, Alexander.


Fighting for the vacant women’s Commonwealth lightweight title, Anisha Basheel of Malawi made lightwork of favourite, Sam ‘SJ’ Smith, now 8-2, to earn a 1st round TKO. Teeing off with heavy hit after hit from the start, the referee was eventually forced into ending the bout with Smith still on her feet. Basheel now moves to 8-5 (8KOs) and becomes the new 135lb Commonwealth champion.


Chris Davies moved to 9-0 with a 4-round points decision over 0-13-2, Callum Ide, but the super middleweight from London is yet to record a victory over a boxer with a winning record or earn a stoppage win.


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Joe Joyce vs. Richard Lartey Preview

Posted on 06/14/2018

By: Ste Rowen

If March 2018 was the month of the heavyweight’s current elite, then June is surely it’s month for prospects…and Tyson Fury.

Last weekend saw the return of the lineal heavyweight champion from an almost 3-year hiatus; as well as 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Filip Hrgovic moving to 5-0 (4KOs) with a 4th round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Mexican, Filiberto Tovar.

Photo Credit: Joy Joyce Twitter Account

Next week we’ll see 2016 gold medallist, Tony Yoka 4-0 (3KOs), take on former opponent of Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte, Dave ‘The White Rhino’ Allen in Paris; as well as Daniel Dubois taking on his biggest test in Tom Little at the O2 arena in London for the English heavyweight belt.

But this weekend, at heavyweight at least, belongs to current Commonwealth champion and 4-0 (4KOs), Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce who takes on 12-1 (9KOs), Richard Lartey of Ghana at London’s York Hall.

It’s been a sharp rise for the 2016 Rio silver medallist. Joyce started his pro career in a risky bout with Ian Lewison, who just 12 months previous to their fight, fought Dillian Whyte for the British belt, in which Lewison was eventually grinded down into a 10th round stoppage, of a fairly one-sided fight.

Even so, the risk was high for the ‘Juggernaut’, but the reward was eventually worth it. Overcoming a few awkward, early rounds until eventually finding his stride in his pro-debut and dominating his fellow Brit, forcing Lewison’s corner to throw in the towel in the 8th round.

From there, the talk from Joyce’s corner was big, including his promoter, David Haye eyeing bouts with the best of Britain, as well as attempting to goad Dereck Chisora into a fight with his protégé. More recently, Joyce called out Jerrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on Twitter.

Joe was back out for his second and third pro bouts in February and March this year, spending just less than 4 minutes of combined time in the ring to knockout Rudolf Jozic, and America’s Donnie Palmer. Then it was onto his biggest fight yet, up against the Commonwealth champion at the time Lenroy Thomas, on the undercard of BellewHaye2.

The Jamaican turned up looking in great shape, he always seems to, but once the first bell tolled, his conditioning leant nothing to stopping the ‘Juggernaut’ hurtling towards him. Dropping his foe three times in total before the referee waved off the bout towards the end of the 2nd round, Joe Joyce was now the Commonwealth champion in just 4 fights. Quicker than Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Lennox Lewis and Trevor Berbick. Not a bad record to have, especially if Joyce manages to claim the British as well – currently held by Hughie Fury – within the next year.

It’s not just talent that’s seeing Joe put onto the fast track. At 32, even for a heavyweight, time isn’t exactly on his side if he wants his peak to coincide with facing the very best of his division.

His opponent on Friday will be fighting someone with a winning record for just the 4th time in his pro career.

Lartey knocked out 1-0, Nuzu Azuma in his 4th fight; was stopped by 11-0, Ergun Mersin in the 5th round of his one and only fight so far outside of Ghana; and in September last year he earned a 12-round decision over 13-7-1, Ibrahim Marshall in what would be his 6th fight of 2017.

It’s difficult to ascertain whether the Ghanaian is a worthy opponent for Joyce, his record, despite only 1 defeat, suggests not, and there’s next to no footage online of Lartey, but if nothing else, at least he’s active.

But on Friday night, if all goes to plan for Joyce, his opponent will play just a small supporting act in his performance. It gives the ‘Juggernaut’ an opportunity to defend the rainbow belt for the first time, and it keeps him active, and in the general boxing public’s minds for the future.

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