Joe Joyce back in action against Hammer at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2

JOE JOYCE WILL battle the experienced German Christian Hammer at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2, as part of a huge fight night also featuring Jason Cunningham v Zolani Tete, Callum Johnson and Nathan Heaney, live on BT Sport.

After being out of the ring since his defeat of Carlos Takam in July of last year and suffering a broken wrist that kept him out of action in the first half of this year, Joyce takes his place on the Wembley bill against the 34-year-old German Hammer.

“The most important thing is to get Joe active and confident again after injury,” said promoter Frank Warren. “Christian Hammer is an experienced campaigner who will provide a decent test and give him a good fight, but obviously we expect Joe to come through it successfully and then start preparing for a bigger showdown later this year.

“It was well documented that it was our intention to match Big Joe with Joseph Parker in September, but Parker has now opted to sign a promotional agreement elsewhere. Joe’s route to a world title shot does not revolve around Parker and we have plans in place for a major fight for him in the autumn.”

“I’ve known about Christian Hammer for a while now,” said Joyce from his training base in Las Vegas. “He has fought everybody, it is going to be a good fight, he comes forward and it will be exciting. It is one to get me ready for the next fights coming up.

“I’ve been out of the ring for a whole year now so it will be good to dust off the gloves and shake off the cobwebs. It is going to be a big year, this year and next, with some great fights and I just need to be in the right place.

“I have taken myself out to the right place with this training camp here to bring out the best in me.”

The Hamburg resident, Hammer, has taken on all comers across his near 14-year career, with names such as Tyson Fury, Erkan Teper, David Price, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, Hughie Fury all featuring on his record. He most recently went the distance with WBO number three ranked Frank Sanchez.

His most recent title success came in 2018 when he defeated Michael Wallisch to win the WBO European championship belt, a title he also won in 2016 with victory over countryman Teper and subsequently made successful defences against David Price and Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf.

The July 2 card at the OVO Arena also includes the highly anticipated super bantamweight collision between European champion Jason Cunningham and two-weight world champion Zolani Tete. Callum Johnson fights Igor Mikhalkin for the WBC Silver light heavyweight title and Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney will make a defence of his IBO International middleweight championship.

Due to a hand injury, Sam Noakes will no longer be defending his WBC International Silver lightweight title on the night against Marc Videl, so the Spaniard will now face an equally formidable foe from the Queensberry ranks in Mark Chamberlain, with the IBF European title on the line. This represents a first title tilt for the 10-0 Chamberlain and his first fight over 10 rounds.

Super featherweight newcomer Royston Barney-Smith has also suffered a hand injury and he is replaced on the card by the 6-0 welterweight Micky Burke jr.

Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner is fighting over six rounds and Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut in a four-round fight having recently signed to Frank Warren and Queensberry.

JASON CUNNINGHAM WILL take on the biggest challenge of his career when he goes up against South African superstar Zolani Tete at the OVO Arena, Wembley on July 2, with world heavyweight contender Joe Joyce also featuring on a bumper card filled with must win fights, it’s High Stakes, live on BT Sport.

Callum Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) faces Igor Mikhalkin (24-3, 11 KOs) for the WBO Global light heavyweight title in a fight between two punchers where neither man will want to give an inch.

Stoke favourite Nathan Heaney (15-0, 6 KOs) will fight in London for the first time in front of a crowd, making a defence of his IBO International middleweight championship.

Tickets for High Stakes at OVO Arena, Wembley on Saturday 2 July go on sale next week, fans are advised to sign-up for Ticket Alerts at frankwarren.com to receive an email ahead of the onsale.

Cunningham, 31-6 (7 KOs), demolished the previously unbeaten French challenger Terry Le Couviour in Telford in mid-April in what was the second defence of his EBU belt. The Renaissance Man of British boxing will bid to join the elite by taking on the formidable force of ‘Last Born’ Tete, 29-4 (22 KOs), who has been a regular and exciting feature on UK fight cards.

The two-weight world champion last held a world title at bantamweight with the WBO championship belt previously in his possession. Prior to this he held the IBF super flyweight title, won by defeating Paul Butler in Liverpool back in 2015.

A shock defeat to John Riel Casimero in Birmingham in late 2019 prompted a move to super bantamweight and Tete returned to the ring in typical fashion with a first-round stoppage in Johannesburg in December.

The Commonwealth and IBF International super-bantamweight championships will be on the line for a clash that has got the potential to be a FOTY candidate.

Joe Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) will be getting back into the ring against an established heavyweight contender as he closes in on a September clash with Joseph Parker in what will be a battle between No.1 and No.2 with the WBO. Following a lay-off due to injury, the Juggernaut will return to the scene of his last fight, a sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in July of last year.

A bout of Coronavirus denied Callum Johnson a world title shot against Joe Smith jr in January. After making his recovery, he will go up against former world title challenger Mikhalkin for WBO honours.

The Germany-based fighter was defeated by Sergey Kovalev in 2018 at Madison Square Garden, having previously won and defended the IBO World light heavyweight title, as well as the EBU European title.

Nathan Heaney is taking his Stoke City show on the road after overcoming the adversity of a first round knockdown last time out against Diego Ramirez before winning comfortably on the cards.

Wycombe super lightweight Henry Turner (7-0, 1 KO) fighting over six rounds, and Thetford cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will make his professional debut at the OVO Arena. The Norfolk Nightmare will make his bow in a four-rounder having recently signed with Frank Warren and Queensberry.

“The stakes are high for all the Queensberry boxers in action on July 2nd at Wembley Arena, Live on BT Sport. Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete is about as even as matchmaking can be in Boxing and the same can be said regarding Callum Johnson vs Igor Mikhalkin. I’m predicting fan friendly action across both fights in matchups that will get the winners in the mix with the top guys in their respective divisions.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the Heavyweight Juggernaut Joe Joyce back in action too. Joes had a frustration time since his demolition job on Carlo Takam last year. He’s not been as active as we or he would have liked due to a wrist injury and the delay to his showdown with Joseph Parker. We found out last week that Parker’s training schedule scuppered our plans for them to meet on July 2nd, but it was important to us and Joe that he still fight after such a lengthy layoff with injury.

“The carrot for Joyce is a win on July 2 will set up a massive showdown with Parker in September. He needs to keep his focus, though, and deliver on July 2 as the big opportunities are now there to be taken for the Olympic Silver medallist.

“I am thrilled to deliver Jason Cunningham a massive fight and a huge test against Zolani Tete. Zolani has been with Queensberry for a long time, and we know what a top-class operator he is. Jason had no hesitation in taking the fight because his confidence is high, and he is an unbeaten fighter at super bantamweight.

“This is a fight between two top drawer and experienced campaigners that will bring out the best in each other and provide a treat for the watching public. It is a fight I cannot wait to see.

“The light heavyweight scene is hot at the moment and Callum Johnson will be looking to remind people why he believes he is top dog in the division. It was such a shame that his chance to prove it against Joe Smith jr fell through due to a bout of Covid-19 in January, but his time will come again and winning the WBC Silver title against the tough Igor Mikhalkin would put him right back in the mix.

“I am looking forward to seeing two of our crowd-pleasers in Sam Noakes and Nathan Heaney perform at Wembley.

“As well as seeing the much-anticipated debut of the giant Tommy Fletcher, it promises to be a thrilling night of action not to be missed.”

Tickets for High Stakes at OVO Arena, Wembley on Saturday 2 July go on sale next week, fans are advised to sign-up for Ticket Alerts at frankwarren.com to receive an email ahead of the onsale.