Although not pretty at times, Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce successfully passed a stiff test in American and world title challenger Bryant Jennings, going full distance in his professional career in the process.
Facing a big step-up in class from the likes of Alexander Ustinov and a deteriorated Bermane Stiverne, Joyce had no other choice but to win on Saturday night in what has been a fast-tracked career for the 33 year old.
Onto the fight itself, Joyce uncharacteristically decided to showboat from the first bell and was punished for it with a sharp body shot from Jennings’ left hook.
In a fight that perhaps never truly got going in some aspects, Joyce used his 30lbs weight advantage to his own benefit for large portions of the fight against a much smaller Jennings.
After a dodgy 1st round, Joyce composed himself, landing on Jennings with thudding shots on a regular basis.
Despite contrasting scorecards of 118-109, 117-110 & 115-112 all in favour of Joyce, Jennings had his moments during the contest connecting on a number of occasions but failing to rock Joyce as he had done in the 1st round.
As both fighters looked to be suffering with fatigue towards the end of the fight, Jennings was docked a point due to a low blow in the 10th round, decreasing his chances of winning the bout even further.
Afterwards, Joyce accepted that it wasn’t his best performance but will have learnt a lot from the fight – “That’s what these kind of fights are for, to teach you a lesson.”
In a professional career where the South Londoner doesn’t want to waste any time, Joyce is unlikely to reject any title shot that will involve him getting into the fascinating heavyweight world title mix.