by Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – We’re still not sure whether Joe Joyce hurt Tyson Fury badly during any of their recent sparring sessions.
There’s no doubt that he devastated Joe Hanks.
The gigantic British heavyweight prospect knocked out Hanks with a left hook in the first round of their scheduled 10-rounder Saturday night at Staples Center. Referee Jerry Cantu stopped their fight two minutes and 25 seconds into once a dazed Hanks couldn’t get to his feet in a Showtime-Pay-Per-View bout on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury undercard.
The 6-feet-6, 262-pound Joyce, a silver medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has knocked out all seven of his professional opponents.
The 6-feet-4 Hanks, 247½-pound Hanks, a Los Angeles resident raised in Newark, New Jersey, lost by knockout for the second time in his career (23-3, 15 KOs).
Hanks caught Joyce with a right uppercut just before the midway mark of the first round. That only woke up Joyce and made him attack an opponent he learned might be dangerous.
Joyce fired back with a left hand that knocked Hanks backward, into the ropes.
Moments later, Joyce drilled Hanks with a straight right hand that turned Hanks sideways and knocked him halfway through two ropes. Joyce then crushed Hanks with a flush left hook that sent him to the canvas.
A disoriented Hanks landed flat on his back. He attempted to get up more than once, but was too buzzed to reach his feet.
Cantu quickly stopped the fight once he realized Hanks was badly hurt.
Joyce spent some of his training camp for this fight sparring against Fury. Joyce and Fury refuted rampant rumors regarding both Fury and Joyce getting hurt at times during those roughly 30 rounds of sparring right through fight week.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.