Joe Joyce was only a few months into his professional career when his name was linked to a fight with Derek Chisora. Now that fight could be on the horizon again.
Chisora was at the SSE Arena, Wembley, on Saturday night to watch Joyce stop Carlos Takam and Joyce said he was open to the fight.
Joyce, the former Olympic silver medallist, moved to 13-0 with the win over Takam, but at 35 he has no time to waste. It was when David Haye was Joyce’s manager at the start of his career that he started calling out Chisora. But with Chisora having lost his last two fights, he might be more open to it now.
“If Chisora wants it, I am here,” Joyce said. “I called him out very early on in my career but he never wanted the smoke. If he wants the fight - he can have it.
“I want to stay active, I am unscathed and ready to go again.”
Joyce is set to be moved up to the No 1 spot in the WBO heavyweight rankings once Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk box on September 25. But he has no intention of just waiting around for his title shot and is being lined up for another fight in October.
One thing facing any prospective opponent, however, is how to hurt Joyce. Catching him seems to problem and Takam landed a series if full-blooded blows, but Joyce just seemed to brush the punches off.
“I don’t know if I feel pain the same way as everybody else,” Joyce said. “Maybe it is because I was brought up playing rugby that I am used to plenty of rough and tough stuff. I train for this and I guess that my strong chin and being able to take a shot is a God-given gift along with my engine that I work on.
“I do have a lot of good attributes - maybe not speed all the time - but my timing and distance and footwork are good. I was never buzzed in there. I felt good.”
If there is a time to get to Joyce, it might be early. Back in 2013, during his amateur career, he was twice stopped in the first round, once by Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin at the European Championships and once by Algeria’s Hamza Beguerni at the World Championships.
“I did get stopped a few times as an amateur but only when my mind wasn’t really on it and I was caught cold,” he said. “I have been hurt a couple of times but you learn from those experiences and don’t make the same mistakes.
“Against better opposition and world champions, I will raise my game a level with the magnitude of the fight.”
Fights with Joshua or Tyson Fury now seem likely at some point, if he can keep winning, but he knows he will have to do better if he faced someone of that class.
“I would probably get back out to Vegas and work with Ismael Salas on the finer details., he said. “AJ and Fury are on top of their games so both would be a tricky fight but I have my attributes and although they might be able to hit me, I will know that I can take them and hit them straight back, because I am The Juggernaut.
“The Joshuas and Wilders have massive punching power so taking shots against them might be a bit more risky - even Fury can bang now - they are top guys but so am I now.”
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.