If Anthony Joshua’s return fight with Oleksandr Usyk, contracted as it is, doesn’t happen next – and with war-torn Ukraine still fighting hard it sure doesn’t look like it – AJ needs an interim foe. Just lately, the ideal and perhaps obvious opponent has appeared in the form of Joe Joyce, AKA “The Juggernaut.” As fans are most likely aware, these two have previous, they have both gone back and forth on social media (AJ perhaps rubbing it in in recalling his one round amateur win over Joyce, with Joyce responding) and the two are both in search of a fight.
It seems this one is a natural, if risky move, for both British giants. But will the fight happen? Frank Warren says Joyce will score a KO win if it does go down.
Speaking with IFL TV, Warren said Joyce will score a KO over an “exposed” Joshua.
“I think he’s got a good chin, I think he’s strong, and I think that AJ has been exposed – not once, but on a couple of occasions exposed,” Warren said when asked why he thinks Joyce beats Joshua. “I think, if somebody has got a good chin, that takes away the thing he’s really got going for him, which is his punch. He’s [Joyce] got a good jab and I think he’ll wear him down and I think he’ll knock him out.”
Joyce has indeed showed a great chin during his pro career, as well as a fine left jab, but is this enough for him to topple Joshua? Right now, if the Usyk fight doesn’t happen (and again, it seems highly unlikely Usyk will be boxing any time soon), Joshua-Joyce seems to be the fight to make. And who wouldn’t want to see it?
But is this fight too big a risk for AJ? As Warren said, if AJ were to lose to Joyce, this would be his second defeat in a row; so would Joshua then still get that shot at regaining his belts from Usyk?
“I dunno, it depends what Usyk says, it depends if the governing bodies allow it, more than anything,” Warren said. “If he gets beat, if he gets knocked out, I don’t think the governing bodies will let him come off two losses and fight for the title.”
Joshua is in a pretty tough place right now. On the one hand, AJ needs to fight (it’s been almost six months since he last fought, and, perhaps more importantly, it’s been 15 months since Joshua won a fight). On the other hand, he cannot afford a third defeat.
Will Joshua take a fight with Joyce, and if he does, who wins?