By Keith Idec
Joe Joyce is busy sparring against an even bigger opponent than the one he thinks he’ll box next.
England’s Joyce told Sky Sports for a story posted to its website Wednesday that his handlers are in negotiations to fight Gerald Washington next. The 2016 Olympian, who’s sparring regularly with Tyson Fury in Big Bear Lake, California, is expected to make his next appearance on the televised portion of the Deontay Wilder-Fury undercard December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“He’s a big guy that brings the heat,” Joyce said, “and he’s very sturdy and durable.”
The 6-feet-6, 240-pound Washington was stopped by Wilder and then Jarrell Miller in back-to-back bouts in 2017.
Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs) still represents a step up in competition for Joyce, who has knocked out all six of his pro opponents. The former USC football player defeated John Nofire (20-2, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision in his last fight, a 10-rounder June 10 in Lancaster, California.
The 6-feet-6, 260-pound Joyce, 33, believes beating a fighter of Washington’s caliber this early in his career will demonstrate his readiness for more formidable contenders in the near future.
“That’s what I’m aiming to do,” Joyce said. “That’s what I’m trying to do – make statements. He is a good, solid heavyweight and he’s a step up for me, but I can overcome that challenge.”
Meanwhile, Joyce is learning from working with the 6-feet-9, 255-pound Fury every day.
“His style of fighting – he has good head movement, he is quick, he comes from different angles, he is elusive,” Joyce said. “It’s good to learn stuff – how to land punches and where to put my feet. I can try out some stuff. He has a good style to learn from. He’s world class. Obviously, so is Anthony Joshua.”
The London native knows Fury already is in good shape for what will be a very challenging fight against the hard-hitting Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).
“His fitness is there,” Joyce said. “We did eight rounds together comfortably. And they were Big Bear rounds, which are a lot tougher [due to altitude]. He has done a lot of running here. He looks fit and sharp.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.