Like the rest of us, unbeaten heavyweight contender and WBO interim champ Joe Joyce wants to see what happens when Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk get it on. Speaking with Sky Sports, Joyce remarked how weary he has been at the way the negotiations ahead of that fight were “dragging on a bit,” but that he himself would very much like to fight the winner. In fact, Joyce says he would like to fight both Fury and Usyk (in what would be a rematch, the two having fought at amateur level some years back, with Usyk winning a decision.)
And, ahead of his April 15 fight with Zhilei Zhang, Joyce says he will use the fight with the Chinese southpaw to get ready for an even bigger fight with a southpaw; Usyk of course being a lefty and Fury being a guy who often switches to the southpaw stance in a fight. Joyce cannot afford to overlook “Big Bang” Zhang in any way, yet he is looking to the future, having no doubt that he will beat Zhang next month.
“Usyk, I wouldn’t mind fighting again either. But Fury’s a bigger fight,” Joyce said. “They’re both going to get ‘Juggernauted.’ I’m confident in my abilities and I think it would be a great fight against either one of them. But I really like the sound of the Fury fight. Can you imagine? Undisputed has a nice ring to it. Undefeated, undisputed maybe.”
Joyce, 15-0(14) is pretty advanced in age at 37, yet he has a fighting style that is not reliant on reflexes and speed. Joyce arguably has the most apt nickname in all of boxing today. Like a Juggernaut, Joyce is sure and steady and he keeps on coming until he has rolled right over his opposition. This style may not be conducive to a long career, but Joyce, if he can get the big fights he wants, may only need another two years or so to achieve want he wants to achieve.
If Joyce can do a job on Zhang, who has never been stopped and has been beaten just one, this via debatable decision, the fans will likely be screaming for Joyce to get his big shot at the Fury-Usyk winner. And Joyce is right when he says the Fury fight is bigger for him. Fury-Joyce would likely sell out Wembley, the way most people feel Fury-Usyk will fill the famed arena.
Can Joe Joyce become world champion if he gets the opportunity? It would take a brave fan to say no. Joyce is, as one of his sparring partners put it, your worst nightmare. Next up, it will be Zhilei Zhang’s turn to find this out out first-hand.