Fresh off his TKO victory over former Heavyweight World Champion Bermane Stiverne, here is our roadmap to the heavyweight title for undefeated contender Joe Joyce.
Joe Joyce has made no secret of his desire to be fast-tracked to glory. A decorated amateur and 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Joyce, 33, jumped into the professional code head first, appointing a team that included powerful names like trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Richard Schaefer of Ringstar Sports.
Last Saturday, the London-born slugger turned in his biggest win to date, stopping former world champion Bermane Stiverne in six one-sided rounds to improve to 8-0 (8 KOs).
So, what’s next for Joyce? Here is one potential route he can follow over the next year on his quest to becoming heavyweight champion:
Joyce’s win over Stiverne may persuade supporters of the British heavyweight that he’s past domestic level. If the desire is there to pursue a Lonsdale belt, a belt valued highly in Britain, then a showdown with Hughie Fury would be a logical choice.
The British Boxing Board of Control ordered the former world title challenger to defend against Joyce next, but a date between the pair still seems a way off. With Fury, 21-2 (11 KOs), possessing experience at the heavyweight division’s top end, courtesy of losing performances against Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev, a Joyce victory here would place him in good company as well as bring national honors.
The undefeated Agit Kabayel, 18-0 (13 KOs), would provide a stern test. His breakthrough performance occurred in November 2017, when he won a majority decision over Dereck Chisora in a bout that was a largely one-sided despite the scorecards suggesting otherwise.
Kabayel defends his strap this weekend when he takes on Andriy Rudenko in a fight he’s expected to win. A fall 2019 date versus Joyce would reveal much regarding the realistic aspirations of both fighters moving forward.
With British and European gongs fully attached to Joyce’s fattening profile, an emphatic win over a former world champion could be the next step on the path to heavyweight glory. New Zealand’s Joseph Parker was a WBO champion until March 2018, when he lost to Anthony Joshua after being the first man to take the Englander the distance.
Parker, 25-2 (19 KOs), returned to the U.K. last July but lost again, this time to Dillian Whyte. Nevertheless, his credentials are solid as he is considered one of the world’s best big men and would likely fancy the job of derailing Joyce’s momentum.
Before a world title shot for Joyce, there comes an eliminator and the man staring through him in the opposite corner is highly-skilled Cuban, Luis Ortiz. Following an agonizing loss to WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder in March 2018, “King Kong” is desperate for another shot at a world title.
There was talk of a possible Joyce fight in the interim but those whispers died down quickly. However, with Joyce eager to test himself, the road to the heavyweight throne could go through Ortiz, 30-1 (26 KOs). If Joyce truly wants to challenge the division kings, he must beat the man who gave Wilder a torrid time inside a frenzied Barclays Center. If he manages that, then the following fight is likely to be for all the marbles.
If Joyce can get past the aforementioned opponents, then it’s time to take on WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder, 40-0-1 (39 KOs). The fight could happen possibly as early as the autumn of 2020. Such a bout would draw a huge crowd anywhere, be it Barclays Center or across the pond at O2 Arena.
Wilder-Joyce could be a passing of the torch bout. Or perhaps Joyce is just the latest "Bronze Bomber: KO victim. No matter the result, it’ll be crowd pleasing. The trail to such an event seems a long way off for Joyce at this moment, but with his track record in seeking out the strongest challengers in the infancy of his career, it could be a fight that occurs a lot sooner than people think.
- Joe Joyce