If you were to show footage of Joe Joyce to a casual boxing fan unfamiliar with him, they might think he’s nothing special. Of course, that’s supposing you showed them clips of him before he folds his opponents up for the count of ten. Prior to that, Joyce can seem rather unassuming in the ring, as he is behaviorally outside of it. Compared to flashier, more dexterous heavyweights, he can present as a slow, ponderous plodder. Then you look at both the punch stats at the end of a given round and the condition of his opponent’s face caused by those numbers and you realize there was a lot more going on than jumped off the screen.

Joyce can even surprise himself in the same manner. On Saturday, he scored the biggest and most impressive win of his career an 11th round knockout over Joseph Parker. In a post-fight interview for his promoter Queensberry Promotions’ YouTube channel following the fight, Joyce was his typically humble self. Joyce can be a tricky subject for interviewers used to a particular pitch and catch with fighters. Lob a question at him about how he felt about his performance, and rather than launching into bombast and grading his performance, something to be extracted for a headline, he’ll offer that he “really enjoyed that!”, choosing to answer matter-of-factly, responding that he had a fun time, instead of playing either pundit or publicist. 

In this case, he was asked about the closing sequence of the fight, a long-range left hook that crumpled Parker and nearly sent him cascading past the bottom rope. Joyce had to be told that it was a left hook that did the trick, all 844 punches he threw in less than 11 rounds perhaps blending together in his mind.

“Ah, sick,” he said. “Yeah, I’ll have to watch it back.”

Shortly after, someone with a cell phone from the BT Sport social team came by with footage of the knockout handy.

“Oh my, wow! I forgot about that,” Joyce said with a chuckle before pausing to watch it a second time. “Oh, I'm happy with that. That's one for the highlight reel.”

As illuminating as Joyce’s performance was for him on film, it likely was for a portion of the audience that hadn’t yet been completely sold on The Juggernaut. Those viewers had sound justification for the questions they had about him, too. Joyce is a pressure fighter, a volume puncher, and in the spirit of many fighters in those categories, is a fighter who invites contact. At the tempo Joyce insists upon, sometimes that means getting hit hard often. Against lesser opposition, many a heavyweight through the years has walked through shots and prevailed on account of being the fresher, more prepared fighter. Whether Joyce could do that against a top-level heavyweight was a fair question to ask.

Against Parker, a former titleholder and consensus Top-5 or 6 heavyweight in the world going into the bout, Joyce was not only able to employ all of the same tactics as he had in the past, get away with the same shortcomings as before, but ramp the physicality up even more. A moment after the third round was emblematic of how the fight went. Parker hit Joyce with at least four flush, sweeping right hands in the round, the most memorable punches of the round. But as Joyce strolled unbothered back to his stool, Parker sat down looking relieved, now with a stream of blood pouring from his nose. 

According to CompuBox, over the course of the fight, Joyce averaged over 81 punches per round. From the sixth round onwards, he averaged 95 punches per round. The numbers also illustrate the difference between Joyce and the standard indiscriminate volume puncher we’re used to seeing. Over 42 per cent of Joyce’s power punches landed, 202 of them overall, proof that Joyce was throwing not just non-stop, but accurately. Joyce isn’t just chucking and praying, he’s like a woodchipper, making constant, precise cuts until his opponent is materially compromised. 

Perhaps equally as notable was the fact that Joyce’s chin held up to heavy leather from Parker. Parker landed 124 power punches, 66 of them to the head, and none seemed to impact Joyce whatsoever. 

“I mean, I always take shots, but I'm exciting to watch I guess,” Joyce offered in his post-fight interview with Queensberry.

Prior to this fight, Joyce’s toughest tests came against Daniel Dubois and Carlos Takam, both impressive victories in the context of the time they occurred. However, it remained to be seen how a more fluid operator like Parker, one who can both punch and neutralize an opponent, would hold up against Joyce. 

Even Parker himself was somewhat astonished by the lack of effect his offensive work had on this night, and his inability to get away from Joyce. 

"At this stage in my career, Joe was the toughest challenge. As you guys saw tonight, the pressure he put on, every time I would hit him he kept coming back," said Parker at the post-fight press conference. 

"We knew exactly what he was gonna do but," Parker paused to pantomime trying to slip punches. "Everything didn't work."

With a win over Parker, Joyce likely sits behind only Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury in terms of the consensus heavyweight rankings. An early temperature gauge of online discussion surrounding Joyce against any of those prospective opponents has displayed a new level of confidence in his chances against them.

The message was delivered on Saturday, although it wasn’t one he cared to verbalize in earnest. When prompted by the interviewed for Queensberry Promotions to verbalize the message he sent to the heavyweight division with his performance, he uncomfortably offered his best effort at trash talk. 

"Yeah, I'm here. The Juggernaut's here...baby,” he said, cringing at his inclusion of “baby.”

He might offer the bare minimum on the microphone, but we now know for sure that he’ll demand the maximum from any heavyweight in the world. 

Corey Erdman is a boxing writer and commentator based in Toronto, ON, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman