How good is Joe Joyce?

By Cain Bradley on April 6, 2018
How good is Joe Joyce?
Joe's best win came in his debut against Ian Lewison. (Action Images/Andrew Couldridge)

He signed with David Haye who immediately suggested it would take him five or six bouts to get to world title level…

No one seems quite sure how good Joe Joyce is or can be. Watching Joe Joyce in the amateurs when I saw him the first time, like many people I doubted his ability. Then I begun to hear more stories of his sparring and how everyone struggled with him. When you actually think about his skill set, it begins to make sense, Joyce is a horrible matchup with skills that will give opposition headaches. The afternoon he won an Olympic silver medal he signed with David Haye who immediately suggested it would take him five or six bouts to get to world title level. He has had three, all wins but still the same questions seem to persist.

As a pro, his best win came in his debut against Ian Lewison. He stopped the veteran in eight rounds when the corner threw in the towel. Joyce aggressively marched at him walking him down with straight punches. The talk was that he wanted to be stepped up quickly and a world champion in 18 months. It is six months after his debut and really you could feel like his previous two fights were step downs in competition. He won both by first round stoppage against Rudolf Jozic and Donnie Palmer. A public call out and subsequent shaming of Dereck Chisora (see Big Juggernaut by Eyez) has since happened but Chisora has rejected the fight. He is still supposed to be fighting on the Haye v Bellew 2 undercard, but his opponent remains unknown. You would hope that he is due for a step up considering his world title hopes.

His team likely see him above other young prospects Nathan Gorman, Daniel Dubois and Nick Webb. Even if they do not, they seem the kinda matchup that will not happen due to promotional differences. The winner of Sam Sexton v Hughie Fury for the British Title could be a potential opponent for Joyce but that bout takes place at the end of May and the timing could be out for Joyce. Lenroy Thomas, the Commonwealth Champion, was feted as a potential matchup and one that Joyce would be heavy favourite. The other option mentioned was Agit Kayabel, the man who defeat Dereck Chisora for the European Title. He needs to get onto the rankings list of the world title organisers. Kabayel would be a good way to do that whilst also winning a belt. His level will have to step up over the next six months before the end of the year. The aforementioned opponents make sense before the end of 2019 for Joyce. 

Joyce strikes me as someone who would not be a boxer if he was a mini version. He comes in at 6’6, weighing over 250 pounds. He uses that size to his advantage, bullying his foes. For someone that size, he has superb athleticism and stamina. The pace he fights at, coupled with the sheer size of the man makes him completely awkward. Tales of sparring suggest he has even given Anthony Joshua troubles.  His hand-speed can range from looking decent for someone his size to slow. His balance is not the best and he can still seem stiff and awkward, especially when you throwing the left hook. He bounces around energetically but it is often wasteful despite showing flashes of good footwork. He is also does not strike me as one punch powerful like a Deontay Wilder but tends to hurt his opponents through accumulation. His major issue comes with his defence which he seems to really lack, being very hittable. His chin proved vulnerable in the amateurs and if that has transferred over to the professional ranks then you have to fear for him.

Hayemaker Promotions are in the unenviable position of having to build up a prospect quickly despite him showing flaws that you would rather him work out in the ring. He turns 33 this year and I wonder how his skills will age. There is no point him fighting easy fights, he belongs currently at the European level and lower world title rankings. The matching also needs to carefully consider his stylistic preference. He’s a come forward powerhouse who will take most fighters out of their game if they aren’t skilled enough to play matador or strong and fast enough to meet fire with fire. His lack of finesse and technique is combated by a strong work rate and constant pressure. There are definitely top level fighters out there who can beat him, but there are also top level fighters who he can beat. The key will be working out which ones he should beat.

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