How can heavyweight Joe Joyce get the most out of Saturday’s fight against Joseph Parker at AO Arena in Manchester, England (ESPN+)?
Be the first to stop the former title holder from New Zealand.
That was the plan for Joyce (14-0, 13 KOs) in the battle to be the mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO belt. The 37-year-old Londoner wanted to make a statement during arguably the toughest match of his career.
Joyce told PA Media: “I leveled up here and there, taking strategic routes with good fighters on the way up. “Now I’m at the top of the charts with the WBO and up against a great fighter Joseph Parker. It is a battle that must be won. I intend to win it and I intend to stop him, I don’t want it to have to work overtime.
“That would be a statement to stop him. On the back of that, I can challenge Usyk or anyone else. There are a lot of good battles out there. “
Joyce and Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) were scheduled to meet on July 2 but Parker withdrew at the time. He was replaced by veteran Christian Hammerwho went down four times and couldn’t make it past the fourth round in London.
It was Joyce’s first fight in a year. He took a break to recover from a wrist injury.
“The Hammer game was great preparation for Parker,” he said. “I got rid of the rust on my ring so I hit the ground running (for the current training camp). It went better for me because I was more prepared. “
If Joyce succeeds on Saturday, he believes he will be ready to take on third-belt champion Usyk in his next bout.
That’s not likely because Usyk has other plans.
The natural match for him is Tyson Fury, who owns the fourth major title. However, Fury is in Talk to Anthony Joshua in December. That news prompted Usyk to suggest he can fight Deontay Wildersuppose Wilder defeats Robert Helenius on October 15.
Joyce doesn’t mind competing for a spot in the heavyweight division.
He feels his time will come, although he certainly likes the idea of challenging Usyk. The Ukrainian tennis player overcame Joyce in a five-round round at the 2013 Old World Boxing Championships.
“I want to fight Usyk, preferably after Parker,” he said. “I enjoyed the fight in WSB even though I lost, but over 12 innings, I was too much for him. It will be an interesting fight, and I want to avenge that defeat.
“But I am on my way there and I am patient. Now I’m in a good place. “