PREVIEW: JOURNEY OF THE JUGGERNAUT



Joe Joyce, one of the most decorated amateur boxers this country has ever produced, now aspiring Heavyweight contender. The story of Juggernauts career is a fascinating one, and one that has so many of us glued to see how far the journey can go. As an amateur Joyce done it all. European gold, Commonwealth gold, World Championship bronze with the peak coming in 2016 when he achieved silver at the Rio Olympic games in the Super-Heavyweight division. Shortly after the games Joyce decided it was the right time to cross over to the paid ranks and try make his mark on a blooming Heavyweight division. October 2017, he made his professional bow in probably one of the toughest fight selections we have seen a Brit take, especially in his very first fight. He would step in with veteran contender Ian Lewison (12-3-1) who had just challenged Dillian Whyte for the vacant British Heavyweight title, going ten rounds before eventually coming up short to Whyte. Joyce was clearly planning an aggressive, waste no time career which you will see some very experienced amateurs do, especially ones who have World Series of Boxing experience. World Series of Boxing is effectively an amateur organisation that allows fighters to dip their toes into professional game. The contests are over 5 rounds with no amateur vest and no head guard. Experience like that is priceless if you plan to cross over to the paid ranks, something Joyce had in abundance and so it showed. Joyce would stop Lewison in eight one sided rounds making a clear statement in the process of how he wanted the rest of his professional career to go. Joyce would follow up his debut win washing aside his next two opponents Rudolf Jozic (4-1) and Donnie Palmer (9-1) in the very first round before moving on to bigger and tougher tests.


Joyce with a brutal KO against Joe Hanks That bigger and tougher test came in his next outing. The Juggernauts team would continue their aggressive opponent choice and that showed as next up was Lenroy Thomas (22-4-1) for Thomas’s Commonwealth Heavyweight Title in just Joyce’s fourth contest as a pro. Thomas was coming off a recent win over Dave Allen before they had a technical draw due to a cut caused by a headbutt in the very first round. Overall though Thomas career seemed to be on the up. That was until he met Joyce. The fight took place on the Haye/Bellew II Card and was scheduled over the championship limit of twelve rounds. Joyce didn’t need anywhere near that time though as he steam rolled through Thomas hurting and dropping him on several occasions before knocking him out with a chilling left hook in the second round winning his first title as a professional. What an impact he had made in such a short space of time. Since the win over Thomas he then had a routine first round win over replacement opponent Ivica Bacurin (30-13-1) before a move to USA and a step up in opposition again stopping Iago Kiladze (26-3) in five rounds. The same number of rounds which took fellow contender Michael Hunter to see off the Georgian. In his most recent contest Joyce seen off probably his toughest test to date on paper in the form of Joe Hanks (23-2). Hanks had been in with former World Title challenger Andy Ruiz in a losing effort as Ruiz stopped him in four rounds but was seen as a benchmark to see what level Joyce was at, at this stage. Joyce took a quarter of the time blitzing Hanks in the very first round cementing the fact he was now ready for a significant step up in class.


That step up comes this Saturday night on the James DeGale-Chris Eubank Jnr card as he takes on former WBC World Heavyweight Champion, Bermane Stiverne (25-3-1). Stiverne to this day is the only man to take Deontay Wilder the distance, albeit losing the rematch in devastating style. Joyce will need to be on his game as Stiverne is more than capable of upsetting the Juggernaut and has invaluable experience at World level. Joyce (7-0) is expected to be ready for this step up though as he himself chases down a shot at the World Heavyweight Title and to get that shot he will need to overcome tests like Stiverne along the way. What a contest it should be and what more will we learn about the Juggernaut on his quest to dominate the Heavyweight division.

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