Joe Joyce was among the heavyweights caught in the ripple effect in the fallout of a proposed undisputed heavyweight championship between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
The backup plan for the unbeaten contender is every bit as dangerous and perhaps just as notable.
After watching a discussed interim title fight versus Oleksandr Usyk slip through the cracks, England’s Joyce has landed a significant summertime headliner. The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist and current Top 10 contender will face former title challenger Carlos Takam in a 12-round main event July 24 at Wembley’s SSE Arena in London.
The event was formally announced on Wednesday, confirming a previous report from BoxingScene.com of the bout being finalized.
“I only want competitive fights but everyone wants to avoid me,” Joyce noted during a press conference held Wednesday to formally announce the fight. “Carlos Takam didn’t even want to spar me in Las Vegas, so I’m surprised he’s taken the fight. He has operated at a high level for a long time but on July 24th the Juggernaut will be activated… and I will run him over.”
Joyce (12-0, 11KOs) fights for the first time since his sensational 10th round knockout of Daniel Dubois in their battle of unbeaten heavyweights last November in London. He has spent most of the year pursuing an interim WBO title fight versus former cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13KOs), a matchup that was approved by the WBO on the condition that Fury-Joshua and that the two winners meet afterward.
Fury-Joshua officially collapsed in May, leaving Usyk to enforce his status the mandatory challenger to the WBO title held by Joshua (24-1, 22KOs), who also owns the WBA/IBF/IBO straps. The move left Joyce without a dance partner, prompting his handlers to move swiftly to secure the right opponent for his next ring appearance.
“It was a great win for Joe against Daniel Dubois,” noted Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren. “He has been inactive since then because we have been waiting for WBO title situation between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk to be finalized. Had that fight not happened Joe would have been fighting Usyk for the vacant title, so we had to wait and see what the outcome would be.
“That situation has been sorted. Joe will become the mandatory challenger for the winner and get his world title fight – should he beat Carlos Takam.”
Takam (39-5-1, 28KOs) is the latest in a string of quality foes lined up for Joyce during his climb towards a heavyweight title.
The well-traveled, 40-year-old Cameroon-born heavyweight—now based out of Las Vegas—came up short in his lone career title bid, a 10th round stoppage versus a then-unbeaten Joshua in their Oct. 2017 WBA/IBF/WBO title fight which he accepted on short notice in place of an injured Kubrat Pulev.
“Everyone knows who Takam is, he really made AJ work when he came in as a late substitute,” Warren pointed out. “Plenty of people believe the stoppage was premature.”
A subsequent 8th round stoppage versus fringe contender Derek Chisora in July 2018 has since been followed by four straight victories, including a 10-round decision over Jerry Forrest last July in Las Vegas. Takam also accepted that fight on short notice, replacing disgraced heavyweight Jarrell Miller who tested positive for a banned substance for his second straight scheduled fight.
With plenty of notice to prepare for this fight, the veteran contender promises a career-best performance and a massive upset on the road.
“I am excited about my fight on July 24th,” noted Takam in a statement. “Hey Joe, let’s give the great boxing fans in the UK an exciting fight!! Be ready because I am a problem.”
Added Joe DeGuardia, Takam’s promoter and head of Star Boxing: “Joyce-Takam is a significant and compelling heavyweight fight. Certainly if Carlos wins it puts him in a position to take Joe Joyce’s #1 World ranking and eventual World Title shot, so Carlos is extremely anxious to capitalize on this opportunity”.
As much is acknowledged by the other side.
“Takam is coming in with ambition and his recent record shows the desire is there to succeed at the highest level,” said Warren. “Given Joe’s position with the WBO, he could have taken far easier options than this.”
Undercard and ticket information are expected to be revealed in the coming days.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox