Joe Joyce is the WBO’s new mandatory challenger in the heavyweight division.
Promoter Frank Warren announced on social media the change in Joyce’s status Tuesday and that the winner of the Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk fight must eventually face Joyce, assuming the unbeaten Joyce continues to win. Warren revealed Joyce’s mandatory status with the WBO following the long-awaited official announcement of the Joshua-Uysk fight Tuesday.
Usyk has been the WBO’s number one contender within the heavyweight division since June 2019, after he moved up from cruiserweight. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion’s mandated shot at one of Joshua’s four titles is long overdue.
London’s Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs), the WBO’s second-ranked heavyweight contender, is set to face France’s Carlos Takam (39-5-1, 28 KOs) on Saturday night at Wembley Arena in London.
England’s Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and Ukraine’s Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) are set to meet September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. In addition to Joshua’s WBO belt, they’ll fight for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist’s IBF, IBO and WBA championships.
Earlier this year, when it appeared that Joshua and WBC champ Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) were going to fight for five heavyweight titles in August, representatives for Usyk and Joyce were discussing a bout between the contenders for the WBO interim heavyweight title.
The Joyce-Takam match will be broadcast by BT Sport 1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. BT Sport estimated that Joyce and Takam will make their ring walks between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. BST.
Their 12-round main event will not be televised in the United States.
The 35-year-old Joyce will fight for the first time since his career-changing, 10th-round knockout of previously undefeated Daniel Dubois (16-1, 15 KOs) on November 28 at Church House in London. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist is listed by the William Hill sports book as a 10-1 favorite to beat the 40-year-old Takam, who is 4-0 since London’s Dereck Chisora (32-11, 23 KOs) stopped him in the eighth round of their July 2018 bout at O2 Arena in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.