Joe Joyce should treat Saturday’s fight against Carlos Takam like a world title fights, says promoter Frank Warren.
The unbeaten heavyweight faces former world title challenger Takam at the SSE Arena, Wembley, having been told he will be installed at the WBO’s No 1 contender after Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk on September 25.
“We have all been working hard to get him in this position. He is on the cusp of something big," Warren said.
Joyce, the 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight silver medallist, has won all his 12 professional fights but has not boxed since his knockout win over Daniel Dubois in November.
“Joe’s had a fantastic amateur career, he was robbed of the gold medal in the Olympic final and is now unbeaten as a professional. I’m looking for him to put in a big performance and make a statement and show everyone that this guy can win a world title," Warren said.
One of the reasons Joyce has been out of the ring for nine months is because he was in training to face Usyk himself, having expected to face Usyk for the interim WBO title or the vacant belt after Joshua boxed Tyson Fury. But when a US judge ruled that Fury had to face Deontay Wilder instead, Joyce was pushed back in the queue.
“The heavyweight scene at the top end is a bit messed up,” Warren said. “The fight between Tyson and AJ should have taken place and now Tyson’s fight against Deontay Wilder has been pushed back until October. AJ against Usyk is now in September.
“In the meantime, the next generation of heavyweights are lining up, getting into position and filling the mandatory positions. If Joe beats Takam, then he will become the WBO’s mandatory challenger after AJ fights Usyk.
“The winner will then have to fight him or vacate and either way, Joe will be in a great position to fight for the world title.”
Takam, 40, is no stranger to boxing in Britain. He gave Joshua a tough fight before being stopped in the tenth round in 2017 and was dominating Derek Chisora in 2018 before a huge shot turned things around and he was stopped. He came from that defeat by stopping Senad Gashi back in London.
“You ask me if I have the power?” Takam said. “If I didn’t have the power, I wouldn’t be here. Of course, I have the power. Joe is a strong guy, but this is going to be a war.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.