Joyce has one eye on Rio as Lionhearts take on Algeria in WSB

Super-heavyweight, Joe Joyce, has one eye on Rio as he looks to build on his good start to the new season of World Series Boxing (WSB) when the British Lionhearts welcome the Algeria Desert Hawks to York Hall this Thursday (5 February 2015).

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.ticketsdirect.org.uk/wsboxing priced £10 adults, £5 children (under 16).

Doors open at 7.00pm and boxing will start at 8.00pm. Tickets will also be available on-the-door at York Hall on the night priced £15 for adults and £10 for children (under 16).

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Joyce, who is due box Algeria’s Mohamed Grimes on Thursday, began the season with an explosive second round stoppage of Viktor Vykhryst of the Ukraine Otamans in Kiev two weeks ago.

It was another impressive showing from the 6’6” Londoner who has a WSB record of eight wins and one defeat in the competition over the last two seasons, having boxed for the Lionhearts in 2012-13 and Italia Thunder in 2013-14.

He explained: “WSB is tailor-made for me. It suits my style because I have got a great engine and the extra rounds give me more opportunity to set the pace and out work my opponents.

“A lot of heavyweights are big and strong but they cannot match me for work rate or the number of punches I throw. They get tired after the first three or four rounds and that works in my favour.”

For Joyce, 29, WSB has proved a great way of learning his craft after coming to the sport relatively late.

He joined the GB Boxing squad in 2012 and was promoted to the elite Podium group later the same year, enabling him to train full-time at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield.

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The increased training improved his technique and fitness and boxing the extra rounds in WSB has helped him to learn on the job and gain experience through competing at a high level.

Joyce explained: “When you box for five rounds you can really think your way through a fight. You are in the ring for longer and you have more opportunities to try things so it has improved my ringcraft.”

The experience has paid dividends and seen Joyce secure a European Championship bronze medal in 2013 at his first major tournament and Commonwealth Games gold at Glasgow 2014.

With WSB offering a qualification route to the next Olympic Games, his sights are now set on Rio 2016.

“When I got into the sport going to the Olympics was always my aim so that is the long term goal. The qualification path for Rio is quite complicated so the ideal scenario is to qualify through WSB and get it done and dusted early,” he said.

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“It won’t be easy as there are a lot of good boxers in this competition so the best thing to do is just focus on my next fight and beat whoever is in front of me.”

Another stoppage would delight his hometown fans and family members that will be at York Hall on Thursday however Joyce is taking nothing for granted.

He added: “I always prepare for a bout by expecting it to go the distance. I am not going in there looking for a stoppage, but if it happens again it will be a pleasant surprise.”

Joyce will be joined in the team to face the Algeria Desert Hawks by fellow GB Boxing squad members, Jack Bateson (flyweight), Ekow Essuman (welterweight) and John Newell (light-heavyweight). International selection, Detelin Dalakliev (bantamweight), from Bulgaria will complete the team on his first appearance for the Lionhearts.

Essuman will be looking to build on an impressive start to WSB which saw him defeat Bogdan Shelestyuk in the recent away fixture against the Ukraine Otamans. Newell and Bateson will be making their first appearance in WSB.

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