Nothing problematic immediately came to the mind of Joe Joyce with regards to his last training camp.
The British heavyweight contender is looking to rectify the results of his last outing, a surprising sixth-round stoppage to Chinese southpaw Zhilei Zhang last month at Copper Box Arena in London.
Joyce, who was pinned as the heavy favorite going into that fight, absorbed repeated left hands, to the point that his right eye was nearly shut and the shade of deep purple. In the end, referee Howard Foster waived off the bout.
The win has boosted the career of the unsung Zhang, who, in the wake of the upset, has called out several of the elites of the heavyweight division, including WBC titlist Tyson Fury.
But earlier this month, Joyce activated his immediate rematch clause. Joyce is promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.
In a recent interview, Joyce was asked if anything went awry during his preparation for the Zhang fight and the heavyweight simply demurred.
“Preparation was good sparring southpaws,” Joyce told iFL TV. I had a number of different ones. …I dunno.
“You can nitpick my performance, my participation in the camp, you can nitpick with my coaches and my team, what went wrong there.
"We had a conversation with [handlers] Adam [Morallee] and Shane [Watson] the other day about all these things and hopefully we can rectify them going forward and making improvements where needed. So, like next time around, not make the same mistakes and come in bigger and stronger and harder hopefully.”
“[Zhang] showed what he’s made of and really showed that he’s a proper heavyweight that hasn’t really been given much opportunity. He’s kind of late into his career and I gave him that opportunity to my detriment and freaking got stopped, didn’t I? Obviously, I’ve gotta come back from that and come in stronger.”
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.