By Keith Idec

Joe Joyce intends to challenge Deontay Wilder one day for the American knockout artist’s WBC heavyweight title.

Seven fights into his promising professional career, though, Joyce realizes he isn’t quite on Wilder’s level as a finisher just yet. Comparing these tall, hard-hitting heavyweights still is inevitable because Joyce is scheduled to box Bermane Stiverne on Saturday night in London.

Joyce cautioned anxious fans Wednesday that they shouldn’t expect him to destroy Stiverne the way Wilder did in their rematch 15 months ago. The 40-year-old Stiverne hasn’t fought since Wilder knocked him down three times and stopped him in the first round of their November 2017 rematch at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The 6-feet-6, 260-pound Joyce (7-0, 7 KOs) knocked out American Joe Hanks (23-3, 15 KOs) in the first round of his last fight, December 1 on the Wilder-Tyson Fury undercard at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“He’s towards the end of his career,” Joyce said of Stiverne during a press conference in London. “He’s going to want to beat me to get back in the mix, but good luck to him. I’d be happy if I beat him before the seventh or eighth round. I’m not going to be Wilder. I won’t beat him in under a round. I’m not there yet, but I will be eventually.”

Stiverne’s confidence entering this 12-rounder for the British commonwealth title stems from how he fared versus Joyce during a sparring session in the fall of 2017. Las Vegas’ Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) was preparing for the Wilder rematch then, whereas Joyce was getting ready for his pro debut in October 2017.

“It was four rounds [of sparring], but I think that’s all he could do at that stage,” Joyce said. “He says he took me to school, but I went to university, if you know what I mean. When we sparred in his camp in Las Vegas, he was a bit lethargic. I don’t really care, though. They can talk however they want, but we’ll see what happens Saturday night.”

Showtime will air the Joyce-Stiverne fight from O2 Arena on Saturday, starting at 3:45 p.m. ET/12:45 p.m. PT.

Showtime’s telecast will feature British super middleweight rivals James DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 KOs) in the main event. DeGale and Eubank will box for the vacant IBO 168-pound championship Eubank once owned.

The 33-year-old Joyce plans to open the show with an impressive performance against an aged yet accomplished opponent.

“Bermane Stiverne, all respect to him, he’s a former WBC champion,” Joyce said. “I have a lot of respect for him for taking this fight. It’s the perfect fight right now for my situation. It’s a great steppingstone for my career. … I know how good I am and I just need to show all of you guys. I’m happy with [promoter] Richard [Schaefer] having the faith in me. I’m just going to do my job and show how good I am.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.