Getting a heavyweight world title shot against Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury obviously would be Joe Joyce’s preference.
Those two British stars appear most interested in facing each other, however, which would leave Oleksandr Usyk as the most appealing potential opponent for Joyce. Ukraine’s Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO belt, but Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) might vacate that championship to ensure that the Fury fight can happen sometime in 2021.
If Joshua relinquishes the WBO belt, it could lead to Joyce facing Usyk for the vacant WBO championship. Daniel Dubois, whom Joyce knocked out in the 10th round last month at Church House in London, is ranked number two in the WBO’s heavyweight ratings, one spot below the top-ranked Usyk.
The 35-year-old Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) called out Usyk in the immediate aftermath of his upset of Dubois (15-1, 14 KOs), who took a knee in the 10th round and didn’t get up.
“Hello, Usyk,” Joyce joked during an interview with IFL TV. “I’m coming for you, Usyk.”
The 33-year-old Usyk, who won the heavyweight gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, out-pointed Joyce at the World Series of Boxing tournament in 2013. Joyce would love an opportunity to avenge that defeat, particularly with so much at stake.
“Yeah, I can’t wait, man,” Joyce said of facing Usyk again. “That would be amazing, to fight a rematch with Usyk for the heavyweight world title. That’s what I’m in boxing for. And then once I win that, then, you know, there’s plenty of bigger fights, big fights out there. So, I’m just gonna keep on improving in the gym and stay ready for the next one.”
Joyce was most recently ranked 11th by the WBO, but he figures to move up numerous spots after beating Dubois.
“Hopefully, the Warrens can sort out that heavyweight title with the WBO, should Joshua vacate it,” Joyce said, “and yeah, I just can’t wait to be world champion. And then, hopefully unite the belts and, you know, fight all these top-class heavyweights. There’s a small circle of top-class heavyweights and I believe I belong with them. So, I’m ready to mix it with them.”
Sam Jones, Joyce’s manager, expressed complete confidence in Joyce beating Usyk if they were to meet again.
“Get Oleksandr Usyk in the ring with Joe Joyce,” Jones told BT Sport, “and I can assure you Joe will beat him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.