Joe Joyce says he wants to stay busy while waiting for a world title shot and is happy to face any ranked heavyweight.
Joyce bludgeoned Christian Hammer to defeat in four rounds at Wembley Arena on Saturday night, knocking down the experienced Germany-based Romanian four times.
It was far from an error free performance as Hammer caught Joyce with several big punches, but Joyce, as he has done before, walked through the blows to land his own.
It was his first fight in nearly a year and the 36-year-old says he will not just sit around waiting for a world title shot. Frank Warren, his promoter, says the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion will be back in action on September 24.
With Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua meeting for the WBA, IBO, WBO and IBF titles in Saudi Arabia on August 20 and a fight with Tyson Fury for the undisputed title expected to follow for the winner, Joyce, who is ranked No 1 by the WBO, No 2 by the WBC and No 6 by the IBF (although oddly not at all by the WBA despite having beaten their regular champion Daniel Dubois), does not expect his chance until Spring next year at the earliest.
“Come early next year the mandatories will start being called,” Joyce said to BoxingScene.com. “At some point I will be called to fight for those belts.
“After the AJ-Usyk fight and depending on if Tyson Fury. is going to relinquish his belts or he is going to fight for the undisputed. Then it will have to wait for that. In that case I can fight all the other top heavyweights in the meantime.
“I’m ready for more. I’ve got the experience. I’ve had tough fights all my career and been strategic in all my fights. I’ve gone up through the division and I’m now highly ranked.
“There is talk that there might be an undisputed fight in December. I’m ready and waiting for my chance and I will have a couple of fights before then.”
Of course, being so easy to hit is not something to recommend Joyce's chances against the top fighters, but he insists that it is something he and Ismael Salas, his trainer, have been working on, along with improving his overall skills. He went to the body more against Hammer than in previous fights, which ultimately broke Hammer down.
“Salas talked to me before the fight about the different areas we could be successful and going to the body was one of those,” Joyce said. “There is a different tactic going in for each fighter and I think I just adjust.
“It was good to get off the cobwebs and when I am fighting regularly again, perhaps I won’t take those shots, I’ll be avoiding and blocking them.
“I’m not making excuses, but because I’ve been out so long, those are things I need to work on. Getting him out in the fourth round was pretty good, but I got some rounds in for the next camp. He was a tough old guy.
“In the journey of life there are pitfalls and twists and turns and obstacles you have to overcome. But I’m going to keep going forward to my destination.”
It is difficult to deny that Joyce’s method makes for exciting fights. He might sometimes seem to be boxing in slow motion, but he never stops going forward.
“I like to think I am an exciting fighter,” he said. “People come to see an exciting fight, especially as I am a heavyweight, who throws a lot of punches, I make for exciting fights.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.