Joe Joyce Defeats Ivica Bacurin
By: Ste Rowen
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.
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.
Joe Joyce vs. Richard Lartey Preview
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.