By Ryan Burton
2016 Olympic Silver medalist Joe Joyce is currently training in Las Vegas under the tutelage of world class trainer Ismael Salas. The Cuban trainer has a huge stable of fighters including WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares and former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy.
Joyce made his pro debut last year when he stopped Ian Lewison (12-3-1) in 8 rounds in a headlining fight that was scheduled for 10 rounds. The London native already has his next two fights lined up.
"The next one is on February 16th and will be at York Hall in Bethnal Green. It is a historic venue for boxing on the east end of London. There is an opponent but it hasn't been confirmed yet so I can't say. I will fight again on May 5th," Joyce stated.
The 32-year-old has spent many years sparring with WBA/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua who is facing WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker on March 31st in Cardiff, Wales. While he thinks it is an intriguing clash, Joyce gives Joshua the clear edge.
"I think it is going to be a good fight. Two champions going at it to unify the belts. I am favoring Anthony Joshua in this one. I can beat Parker I think," Joyce told BoxingScene.com.
That comment prompted me to ask him if he meant right now or down the road when he gets more seasoning in the pro ranks.
"Right now. Why not?" he clarified.
He said that Parker is a good fighter but he just feels that he is a level above and that his amateur experience more than makes up for his lack of professional experience.
"Yeah (he's a good fighter) but I also rate myself and I have shared the ring with Anthony Joshua for four or five years. I was with him when he went to his Olympics in London and he was still sparring me in preparation for my Olympics in Rio so we have done hundreds of rounds, thousand of rounds," explained Joyce.
Send questions or comments to [email protected] You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter