Joe Joyce Taking Inspiration From George Foreman: “Look At Him Coming Back At 45”

By James Slater - 01/17/2024 - Comments

It wasn’t too long ago when some people were comparing Joe Joyce to George Foreman – the second incarnation. Joyce, like Foreman Mark II a slow and steady puncher with a seemingly uncrackable chin, was closing in on a world title shot. Then “The Juggernaut” ran into Zhilei Zhang, and just like that, people were advising Joyce to retire from the sport.

But Joyce, aged 38, is now taking inspiration from “Big George” as he plots his way back to where he once was. Speaking with METRO, Joyce, 15-2(14) and the former WBO interim heavyweight champion, said he feels that with two big wins, he can be “back in the frame for those fights [with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury].”

So, can Joyce make a successful comeback, and can he still become a world champion? The comeback starts in March against Kash Ali, but Joyce is already looking at a possible fight with Daniel Dubois (which would, of course, be a rematch, Joyce having stopped Dubois back in 2020).

“People were quick to tell me to retire (after the Zhang losses). For one, it’s just an opinion. And two, I haven’t done everything in want to do in this sport yet or secured myself yet,” Joyce said. “It’s my decision when I want to retire. You can’t tell someone to retire because they lost a fight. Plenty of champions have lost on the big stages and gone on to win world titles on their comeback run. Look at George Foreman coming back at 45.”

It remains to be seen how much those two stoppage defeats at the hands of Zhang took out of Joyce and whether his once seemingly uncrackable chin will ever be the same. But Joyce is correct when he says that, in the heavyweight division, one big win can get a fighter right back into the mix at world level.

“Dubois and Joseph Parker showed it. You can have one fight and get straight back in the mix,” Joyce said. “I was impressed with Daniel, he looked good against (Jarrell) Miller, who was pretty durable, taking a lot of shots. Does the rematch interest me? Possibly….we are both with Frank [Warren]; it’s an easy fight to make. A couple of big wins, and I am back in there. I have already proved to people I am an elite fighter, and I can mix it with the best and beat the best, too.”

It is quite amazing how the heavyweight division can unfold, with Joyce having beaten both Dubois and Parker, who are now right up there having big fights (and it will be fascinating to see how Parker gets on with Zhang on March 8) while Joyce is badly in need of a win. If Joyce hasn’t suffered any ill-effects from those two crushing losses as the hands of “Big Bang” maybe he can come back and knock off a couple of elite heavyweights.

The way Joyce fights, it’s going to be fun finding out how far he can go in his comeback. One thing about Joyce, he is never in a dull or boring fight.