By Keith Idec
A deal for the opener of Showtime’s four-fight pay-per-view telecast December 1 has been finalized.
BoxingScene.com has learned heavyweights Joe Joyce and Joe Hanks have agreed to terms to fight on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury undercard that night. London’s Joyce (6-0, 6 KOs) and Hanks (23-2, 15 KOs), of Newark, New Jersey, will meet in a 10-rounder at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Joyce told Sky Sports last week that he might fight Gerald Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs) on the Wilder-Fury undercard. Washington turned down the fight, but the 35-year-old Hanks happily accepted an opportunity to knock off a 2016 Olympian his handlers hope to place on the fast track toward a heavyweight title shot.
The 6-feet-6, 260-pound Joyce, 33, has been one of Fury’s primary sparring partner’s for the lineal heavyweight champion’s shot at Wilder’s WBC title. Before heading back to trainer Abel Sanchez’s gym in Big Bear Lake, California, to work with Fury, Joyce scored a fifth-round knockout against Iago Kiladze (26-4, 18 KOs) on September 30 in Ontario, California.
The 6-feet-4, 250-pound Hanks has won both of his bouts since suffering his lone losses – back-to-back defeats to Andy Ruiz Jr. (31-1, 20 KOs) and Derric Rossy (31-13, 15 KOs) in July 2013 and May 2014. Ruiz stopped Hanks in the fourth round and Rossy edged him by majority decision in a 10-rounder.
An official announce of the Wilder-Fury undercard is expected later this week.
In addition to Joyce-Hanks, it’ll include the return of Jarrett Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs). The IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion will encounter England’s Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs) in Hurd’s first fight since having surgery in June to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.
The fourth televised fight December 1 will match Cuban heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC) against Travis Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs), of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.