Joe Joyce says he does not fear that the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic could stop him getting a world heavyweight title shot one day.
Joyce faces Michael Wallisch, of Germany, at the BT Sport Studios on Saturday in his first fight in more than 13 months. Victory is supposed to set up an October 24 fight with Daniel Dubois (who boxes Erik Pfeifer on August 29), although that is still dependent on coronavirus restrictions being relaxed enough to enable a big enough crowd to make the fight economically viable.
The Olympic super-heavyweight silver medallist turns 35 in September, but with all the heavyweight title belts tied up by a series of mandatories as well as two proposed fights between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, Joyce, who did not step in a ring until he was 22, is not worried about running out of time.
“It definitely has been a funny year, but I don’t feel any older,” Joyce said. “I am going to be turning 35, but I still feel pretty young and fresh. I haven’t been in too many wars, I haven’t had too many fights, especially starting at 22.
“I’ve not got a plan to get a title shot, I am just going to plod forward and hopefully I will get a chance eventually. You never know with boxing, things happen.”
It has been a difficult year for Joyce, who had a European title shot against Marco Huck in January called off, before his fight with Dubois twice postponed. He had invested heavily in a Las Vegas training camp for the Dubois fight, but will not even have his trainer, Ismael Salas, in his corner tonight, as he is still in the United States.
“I speak to Salas on Facetime or WhatsApp, but I have a good man in Steve Broughton who has been in charge of my training. Steve has been speaking to Salas too, to check his is doing everything he wants me to. I’m not too worried, but for the Dubois fight I need his guidance and tactics.”
“I stayed active in the lockdown. I did a lot of cycling, the occasional run, some shadow boxing, I even got on my old rollerblades.”
Joyce is not expecting Wallisch to just roll over against him, although having been taken the distance for the first time in his last fight by Bryant Jennings, he is not expecting this one to go the distance.
“He’s no joke,” Joyce said. “He is a big, strong guy and has had some KO wins. I’ll be coming with my A-game.
“He is good in spurts he comes forward and has a high guard. He knows how to defend himself but I expect to get to him in the end.”