Joe Joyce: I've Beaten Yoka Before, Time To Pick Him Off Again

Joe Joyce celebrated storming into the Olympic super-heavyweight final with a backflip and a couple of capoeira moves in front of a thrilled crowd at the Riocentro boxing hall on Friday.

The 30-year-old learned the Brazilian martial arts growing up in London and said he saved his unique celebration for the moment his semi-final victory over Kazakhstan's Ivan Dychko was confirmed.

Joyce will now face world champion Tony Yoka of France in Sunday's final as he bids to emulate 2012 champion and former team-mate Anthony Joshua, who was watching at ringside in Rio.


In order to do so he must avenge a controversial defeat in the World Championship semi-final, and Joyce says he has plenty of additional motivation to get one over his former foe.

Joyce said: "I've beaten Yoka before and he avenged that defeat so it's my time again. He will be on the back foot trying to be smart, and it will be my job to pick him off again."

Joyce poured on the punishment in the last two rounds to come from behind on the judges' cards and claim victory over Dychko by a unanimous decision.

He had overcome a slow start in which he was picked off by the upright Kazakh in the opening round, which he dropped on all three of the judges' cards.

The Londoner continued pushing after his opponent in the second, enjoying more success, but still leaving himself worryingly open to accurate counters.

As the round progressed, he began to land much cleaner and heavier blows, and Dychko, blowing heavily, began to appear increasingly vulnerable.

The judges agreed, making the last round effectively a decider, and Joyce pushed forward hurling big right uppercuts as the Kazakh attempted vainly to cling on.

Joyce's fitness was really beginning to tell, bouncing in to deliver further punishment in sharp contrast to Dychko, whose work was increasingly laboured.

A left hand swatted the Kazakh's chin as Joyce finished things off in dominant style to earn the verdict on all three cards.

Joyce greeted the verdict with his gymnastic celebration, which drew loud cheers from the surprised Brazilian fans, and perhaps ensured he will be favoured for the final showdown.

Joyce admitted: "It was a tough first round. He was very quick and mobile and was keeping me on the end of his jab so it was hard to close him down.

"But in the second I began to close him down better and was catching him. I was picking him off as he was tiring, and he couldn't keep up with three rounds like I can.

"The final is what I'm here for but I don't let it get to me too much."

Joyce is the second British boxer to reach a final in Rio after Nicola Adams, who faces another French fighter, Sarah Ourahmoune, in the women's flyweight gold medal match on Saturday.

Great Britain have guaranteed a total of three boxing medals after Josh Buatsi picked up bronze in the light-heavyweight division.

Tags: Joe Joyce image   Tony Yoka image  
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