Joe Joyce didn’t hesitate when asked Saturday night what he wants next.
“Well, what I want is AJ or Usyk,” Joyce said during a post-fight interview with BT Sport following his sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam at Wembley Arena in London.
Joyce realizes, of course, that he’ll still have to wait plenty of time before he gets a shot at the WBO heavyweight title. The huge English contender will become the WBO’s mandatory challenger in that division once Oleksandr Usyk gets his mandated shot at Anthony Joshua on September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Ukraine’s Uysk (18-0, 13 KOs) has been the WBO’s mandatory challenger since June 2019, a couple weeks after Andy Ruiz Jr. upset Joshua by seventh-round technical knockout at Madison Square Garden in New York. Whoever emerges victorious from the Joshua-Usyk fight, Joyce won’t get his title shot until some point in 2022 at the earliest.
Frank Warren, whose company promotes Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) and WBC champ Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), explained how he expects the scenario to unfold during the aforementioned interview with BT Sport.
“He’s the mandatory challenger,” Warren said in reference to Joyce. “He’s number one now. And obviously, AJ and Usyk are getting it on in September. And then he becomes the mandatory challenger to the winner. He’s the mandatory challenger. When they let that happen, they will decide. I don’t know what [will happen]. Usyk’s the mandatory yet. So, although that’s behind time, that’s a mandatory. But I think what will happen, providing AJ wins and providing Tyson Fury wins, they’ll fight first. But then the winner will have to fight [Joyce]. We’ll see what happens. Or, if the title gets vacated, Joe will fight for the vacant title.”
If Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) beats Usyk and Fury defeats Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in their third fight October 9 in Las Vegas, negotiations for their full title unification fight will likely resume. That would leave Joyce to win at least one more fight, maybe two, before the 2016 Olympic silver medalist would get a crack at the WBO belt.
The 6-feet-6, 263-pound Joyce conquered Cameroon’s Takam (39-6-1, 28 KOs) after hurting him with a left hook as soon as the sixth round started. The 40-year-old Takam landed numerous flush right hands through the first five rounds against the defensively deficient Joyce, though, and made their scheduled 12-rounder thoroughly competitive.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.