Joe Joyce Plans A Big 2024, Wants Three Fights
Joyce’s aura as the ‘Juggernaught’ came to an end in emphatic fashion as Zhang stopped him on two occasions. In the first fight, Joyce came in much lighter than was expected. Zhang targeted his eye, getting a stoppage in round six to become the WBO interim heavyweight champion. It was Joyce’s first career defeat, and he lost the mandatory position for the winner of Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury.
Joyce set his sights on getting revenge by enacting the rematch clause. Zhang promised to do the same again, which he did even quicker with a third-round stoppage. That raised question marks over whether Joyce should retire since it was a long way back to a world title.
And at the age of 38, time is not on his side. Joyce turned professional at 31, showing he does not have as much experience as the other heavyweights in the division. But Joyce dismissed those suggestions of retiring as the aim is to be more active this year.
“It’s water over the bridge after my defeat against Zhang now and I’m looking at steps ahead and Zhang meanwhile can continue what he’s doing and I aim to get back into the ring in March for an easier fight and then once I get back in there and if I win, then I’ll come for these big heavyweight fights. I would fight anyone of them in Daniel Dubois, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker,” Joyce said
Two of Joyce’s former opponents, Daniel Dubois and Joseph Parker, have managed to bounce back after they lost to the ‘Jaugernaught.’ Joyce stopped Parker and Dubois, but the latter two are coming off their biggest wins. Parker dominated Deontay Wilder to secure a unanimous decision win by outboxing the American over twelve rounds.
Dubois stopped Jarrell Miller in what was seen as a career-defining fight. Parker and Dubois did it on the biggest stage in the ‘Day of Reckoning’ event in Saudi Arabia, giving them much-needed exposure. Joyce could do the same if he manages to fight on a Saudi card, but the success of his rivals is another obstacle since he is further down the pecking order.
“There’s a lot of interesting fights out there these days, especially with what is happening in Saudi – there’s plenty of great fights but I need to get comfortable winning again and then go for a big test,” Joyce added
Joyce ultimately has to ask himself what is the motivation for fighting. Since a world title is unlikely, does he still have the hunger for the sport that he once had? There is a chance he could earn higher purses by fighting in Saudi, but to be considered, he must start racking up wins to put himself in the conversation for those fights. And there is no getting away from that.
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