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Joe Joyce on why he would knock out 'LUCKY' Anthony Joshua and his friendship with Tyson Fury

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For Joe Joyce – the goal is clear. After turning professional at the relatively late age of 31, the heavyweight wants to steamroller his way to the top as quickly as possible. They do call him ‘The Juggernaut’, after all. 

Joyce is out in Las Vegas – using the UFC’s facilities to continue his rehab from a wrist injury – but the set-back hasn’t stopped him from plotting a collision course with some of the world’s top fighters. In the last few months alone he has already called out Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker.

Talk is cheap in boxing, though – and the 36-year-old feels he is more than ready for a world title shot after stopping highly-rated prospect Daniel Dubois in 2020 while also adding confident wins over seasoned professionals like Carlos Takam and Bermane Stiverne to his CV. 

Speaking to Sportsmail from his camp in Sin City, courtesy of Freebets.com, Joyce said: ‘I think I’m being talked about a lot more now, especially with the big names. 

‘I’m just in touching distance. I’m highly ranked and just waiting for my opportunity. I’m in a good position and it’s time to get these big fights done. I’m ready.’

Heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce is ready for a world title fight as he awaits his next opponent while training at his camp in Las Vegas

Heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce is ready for a world title fight as he awaits his next opponent while training at his camp in Las Vegas 

Joyce called out British rival Anthony Joshua

But Joshua is now set to face Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch

Joyce called out British rival Anthony Joshua (R) but he is now set to face Oleksandr Usyk 

One of the fights that Joyce is particularly keen to make is a showdown with fellow Brit Joshua. He had initially been looking for an interim opponent when it seemed clear Usyk would be too focused on the war in Ukraine to re-arrange their rematch this summer. But now Joyce is looking at Plan B after Usyk announced his intentions to start training for the mega fight this year.   

‘Nothing has officially been announced yet but I have an idea of who my next opponent is,’ he adds. ‘I’m not going to share and break the news just yet. I’m just working on techniques that will be good for this “said” person.   

Joyce posted a mock-up picture of the pair under the Wembley arch and called for AJ to face him this year

Joyce posted a mock-up picture of the pair under the Wembley arch and called for AJ to face him this year 

‘Things are going from strength to strength. I’ve started punching with my left hand, which was injured. I’ve been doing my rehab and I’m feeling good.’

A fight with AJ would have been particularly tasty given the pair had a little feud on social media shortly after Joyce challenged Joshua to a fight – posting a picture of the pair of them under the Wembley Stadium arch. 

Joshua and Joyce went toe-to-toe in the amateurs – with the former ousting him in just one round – and claimed it would be the same outcome in the professional ranks too. Safe to say that didn’t sit well with Joyce – who labelled his rival ‘a glass canon’, mocking him for losing his titles to Usyk and and claiming he has been ‘given everything’ in his career so far.     

Joyce is still keen on taking on Joshua further down the line, as well as another clash with Usyk – who he also lost to in the amateurs – but is confident things would be different against the Watford-born fighter this time around. 

Joyce wants to face the winner of Joshua's fight against Usyk having lost to both of them in the amateur ranks

Joyce wants to face the winner of Joshua’s fight against Usyk having lost to both of them in the amateur ranks 

‘Let’s see what happens, once the fight takes place, then I want to fight the winner,’ Joyce continues. ‘When I fought Joshua, I wasn’t ready. The odds were stacked against me on the night. The Usyk one, however, was a great fight. I felt I did well against him despite my lack of experience. I’d love to do the rematch – against both of them. I’ve come a long way throughout the years. 

‘I think AJ would be a bigger fight – especially if he wins. If Usyk wins that is definitely a massive fight as well. Maybe I’ll fight both of them! I’m not retiring anytime soon.’ 

On Joshua, Joyce believes he would give the former world champion a huge shock in the ring with a stoppage – admitting he has seen enough weaknesses in his game to make him confident he could get the knockout. He cited a rocky performance that saw him floored twice against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019. 

He even claimed Joshua has been ‘lucky’ in his career with glamorous endorsements.

‘I have respect for him and what he’s done,’ Joyce says. ‘But once we get in that ring – I’ve seen everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and how I can capitilise, and I know he’s not got the best chin. Once he gets hit he does get in trouble. He has improved in some of his skills – but I don’t think he fought the right fight against Usyk. 

He believes there are'gaps' in Joshua since he was rocked by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 and claimed he has been'lucky' in his career

He believes there are ‘gaps’ in Joshua since he was rocked by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 and claimed he has been ‘lucky’ in his career

Joyce is confident he would stop AJ after slamming him as a'glass canon' on social media

Joyce is confident he would stop AJ after slamming him as a ‘glass canon’ on social media

The pair were involved in a back-and-forth Twitter spat last month after the former world champion claimed he would knock him out in a round

The pair were involved in a back-and-forth Twitter spat last month after the former world champion claimed he would knock him out in a round

‘I think he’s been very lucky with his career. Everything has gone so well for him but at a price. He’s had that steep rise but then a steep fall when he fought Ruiz. People saw the gaps in him and have seen he’s not an indestructible specimen. 

‘He’s had endorsements, everything. That’s his own work. He’s fit the right package and presents a very corporate image. It’s a benefit to him and he’s capitilised on it. At the same time, he’s put on this persona which may not be true to himself. 

‘I’ll be going for the win – for the knockout. Hopefully that fight get made and we don’t get all the bulls**t around it. Let’s get it on.’

Joyce – who won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic games – might be waiting for a while to face Joshua, in truth. Should he beat Usyk this year, he will have his eyes set on the winner of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte as he continues his pursuit of becoming an undisputed world champion. 

Joyce - an Olympic silver medalist in 2016 - is wasting no time trying to engineer a fight against one of the world's elite boxers

Joyce – an Olympic silver medalist in 2016 – is wasting no time trying to engineer a fight against one of the world’s elite boxers 

In the meantime, he has welcomed a challenge from David Higgins – the manager of Joseph Parker – to face the Kiwi fighter this year, and has also doubled down on his desire to face Fury at some point, despite the pair being close friends.   

When Fury was overweight and attempting to make an unlikely comeback to the sport, Joyce sparred and trained with him at his camp and formed a close relationship with the entire family.  

‘I spent some time with Tyson Fury when he was a bit overweight – I was on a training camp with Sam Jones at the time,’ he explains. ‘We stayed with him and Tommy, Hughie and Peter Fury. I got to know the family. 

‘I sparred [Fury] and then I spent more time with him while I was preparing to face Bermane Stiverne and got to know him a lot more. He’s at the top of the game and everyone wants to see who’s the best. I’d definitely fight him.

‘When I was with Team GB I spent a lot of years with Joshua, Frazier Clarke and Dubois. I consider everyone a friend but it’s a business and a sport at the end of the day. I’ll fight whoever is put in front of me. You have respect for each other, you get in the ring, try to knock each other out and after you shake hands.’

He even called out his friend Tyson Fury and said he would have no problem facing a fighter who he shared a close relationship with

He even called out his friend Tyson Fury and said he would have no problem facing a fighter who he shared a close relationship with

Whyte is not being given much chance of pulling off an upset against Fury when the pair square off on April 23. Joyce – who sparred ‘The Body Snatcher’ early in his boxing career – is also throwing his backing behind pal Fury, saying ‘The Gypsy King’ is simply too skilful and durable.

‘Tyson is taller longer reach so he’ll be working at range. Dillian needs to close the distance, work the body. I think Dillian Whyte – he could cause an upset, it’s heavyweight boxing. My personal opinion is Fury’s skillset will be on top for this fight. I’ll be surprised if Whyte knocks Fury out and he stays down, so I think it’s going to be a Fury victory.

‘Once [Fury] gets going, it’s very hard to get him off you. He can switch, he comes at different angles. With the Wilder fight he’s shown he’s got power as well. It’s a very difficult fight.’ 

Joyce appears to be the clear example set in boxing right now that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can pick up the gloves at any time and if you think you have talent, then go for it.

That’s exactly how it went for Joyce, who didn’t even attend a boxing class until he was 22. Previously he was a keen swimmer and even taught lessons in the pool. He initially got into boxing just to to keep up his fitness levels, before discovering he was pretty good at it.   

‘My local boxing club is Earlsfield. I went there to check it out,’ Joyce tells me. 

‘I was just doing it to keep fit, but I could see a pattern forming. The doors were opening up. All I needed to do was keep winning my fights. 

Joyce is something of a late bloomer in boxing after starting his pro career at 31. He initially got involved in the sport just to keep fit at his local gym

Joyce is something of a late bloomer in boxing after starting his pro career at 31. He initially got involved in the sport just to keep fit at his local gym

The 36-year-old is keen to leave a'legacy' behind him after his quick rise up the ranks

The 36-year-old is keen to leave a ‘legacy’ behind him after his quick rise up the ranks 

‘I’m a person who likes adrenaline-fuelled sports or contact sports. I grew up with it, it had that excitement for me. All I had to do was keep improving. It seemed quite simple, you just use your hands and beat your opponent! It became clear to me the steps to get where I wanted to get to and be successful and be no 1 in the world.’ 

After catching the eye in the amateurs, Joyce signed up with David Haye’s management company Haymaker Ringstar, and got to work on coming up with a memorable nickname that would drive fear into the hearts of his opponents.

He eventually opted for ‘The Juggernaut’ – inspired by the iconic villain from the Marvel comics series the X-Men. 

He got his nickname'The Juggernaut' from the iconic X-Men villain - insisting he wanted to become'an unstoppable force' just like the Marvel character

He got his nickname ‘The Juggernaut’ from the iconic X-Men villain – insisting he wanted to become ‘an unstoppable force’ just like the Marvel character

‘After I left GB I was thinking of good nicknames,’ Joyce says. ‘There was ‘Mighty-Joe’ on the list, then there was ‘Jack Hammer’, that got dropped quite quickly!

‘I was talking with David Haye and he says, “Oh yeah, you want a name that sounds hard – like The Sledgehammer or something. What about The Juggernaut?” And that kind of stuck. You want a name that opponents will fear and that was a good fit.’ 

The Juggernaut character from the Marvel universe was a giant, muscular, imposing figure who would wipe out his enemies in a matter of seconds. I ask him if he had plans to do the same thing to his opponents from here on out.  

‘Yeah – I’m gaining momentum and I’m going to be an unstoppable force!’ 

Joyce is now thriving as a heavyweight boxer with a record of 13 straight wins – 12 of which have come by way of knockout. His ambition is the same as many fighters – winning a world title – but it doesn’t stop there. He wants to grab a belt and defend it, and finish his career as the top dog. 

He revealed how former manager David Haye (left) urged him to pick a nickname that would drive fear into the hearts of his opponents

He revealed how former manager David Haye (left) urged him to pick a nickname that would drive fear into the hearts of his opponents

Joyce doesn't just want to win a world title - he hopes to defend a belt for many years and perhaps even become undisputed champion one day

Joyce doesn’t just want to win a world title – he hopes to defend a belt for many years and perhaps even become undisputed champion one day

He admits he ‘didn’t really like’ boxing as a youngster and didn’t grow up worshipping any legendary fighter. But he does admire how the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Mohamed Ali all picked up losses and still managed to make their way around all of their top competitors before they hung up their gloves. 

Legacy is important to Joyce, and he wants to show young aspiring fighters that anyone can reach his level with hard work. 

‘I don’t just want to get to a world title, I want to defend it and see if I can collect some more – become undisputed,’ he adds. ‘That would be a nice legacy to leave behind. It’s exciting times and there’s all these potential fights. In the old days, the champs would fight each other and they’d fight again. All of this can happen again. 

‘I’m out here to make a name for myself and leave a legacy. Then I can pass that on to future generations. Let’s just see how the journey unfolds.’  

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