Joe Joyce still hopes he can fight his dream with one of his British opponents: Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.
Fury, the WBC world champion, has confirmed he has retired, while Joshua will face Oleksandr Usyk on August 20 in a rematch after losing the WBA, IBF and WBO titles to the Ukrainian on August 20. September last year.
Despite the uncertainty about Fury’s future (will he have a rematch?) and Joshua (is that still the fight Joyce wants if he loses to Usyk again?), the undefeated Joyce believes that he might be just one battle away from leaving his first world. header shot.
“The Juggernaut,” who won 12 of his 13 matches by KO, faces Christian Hammer at OVO Arena, Wembley, in London on Saturday (ESPN+, 2:30 p.m. ET), needing a win to maintain his #1 and #2 ranking with WBO and WBC, respectively.
With all four major titles shared between Fury and Usyk, the only way Joyce will miss out on a title next year is if Fury reneges on his retirement promise and faces winner Usyk-Joshua 2 to decide an undisputed world heavyweight champion.
“Tyson hasn’t given up his belt yet. If his WBC belt is given up, I’ll be the first to fight for it, maybe Deontay Wilder,” said Joyce, who has turned age. 37 in September, told ESPN. “Tyson is currently enjoying time with his family, but I think he is waiting to see the results of Usyk-Joshua. He has won and done everything in this sport, but if 500 million pounds is over. table, I’m sure he’ll fight back.
“If the winner Usyk-Joshua doesn’t want to fight me, they will have to give up the WBO belt and I will fight for it.”
Joyce knows Fury, Joshua and Usyk well since he shared the ring with all of them.
“I beat Fury right before his first fight with Deontay Wilder [in December 2018]”, Joyce said. I haven’t fought Joshua since 2017, and I’ve fought Usyk as an amateur, so I know them all pretty well. “
Joyce fought several rounds with Joshua while both members of the UK Olympic boxing team, and suffered a first round loss to Joshua during his amateur career in 2011. Joshua won the match. Olympic super heavyweight gold medal a year later, and Joyce remained amateur until he won the Olympic super heavyweight silver medal in 2016. Joyce and Joshua continued to fight early in Joyce’s professional career. Joyce lost to Usyk in 2013, a year after Usyk won the heavyweight gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
“Certainly from recent performances, Tyson is the best of the three,” Joyce said. “Usyk put himself up there after beating Joshua, and then Joshua.”
Joyce trained with Cuban coach Ismael Salas in Las Vegas for his first game since stopping Carlos Takam last July. Hammer (27-9, 17 KOs), 34, from Germany, has lost 3 of his past 5 matches and is not the most formidable opponent available, but Joyce sees this as crucial preparation for a world championship match.
“It was a warm-up fight and the ideal fight for me right now,” Joyce said. “It was supposed to be Joseph Parker, but it became a bit complicated for him and that match was postponed. I want to fight in July, so it’s a good match for me. He’s durable. and has fought some very experienced fighters.”
“There have been rumors of me fighting Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury. I just need to get rid of the Hammer and these fights could happen.”