Former interim WBO heavyweight champion, Joe Joyce really hopes to fight against IBF/WBA Super/WBO champion, Oleksandr Usyk next year. / Photo: Instagram @joejoyceboxing
LONDON – Former interim WBO heavyweight champion, Joe Joyce really hopes to fight against IBF/WBA Super/WBO champion, Oleksandr Usyk next year. About 10 years ago, Joyce met Usyk when they were still at amateur level.
In the World Series of Boxing duel which lasted for 5 rounds, Joyce had to admit Usyk’s superiority. Now, he is determined to return to the same ring as Usyk at a professional level.
However, before going far there, Joyce must have a rematch against the Chinese giant, Zhang Zhilei, on September 23 at Wembley Arena, London. Joyce surprisingly suffered a TKO defeat in the sixth round in his first duel with Zhang Zhilei, last April.
By reclaiming the WBO interim title from Zhang Zhilei (25-1-1, 20KO), Joyce believes that he can get closer to Usyk through mandatory challenger status for the WBO title held by Usyk.
“That’s the plan. It’s complicated. You never know what will happen. I will get there in the end. I’m confident,” said Joyce with determination, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Therefore, for Joyce, defeating Zhang in the upcoming rematch is very important. “I came to take back what is mine and take the WBO Interim title, so I can continue my journey and become world heavyweight champion,” explained the boxer with a professional record of 15-1 (14KO).
When he suffered a TKO defeat from Zhang in the first battle, Joyce admitted that he had slightly underestimated Zhang. “Every fight I change a little depending on the opponent. I probably underestimated Zhang a little, thinking I would take him out in the final rounds,” he admitted.
“Of course, he is very fast and accurate with his left hand and counterattacks. But this time it will be different, because I am more motivated and enthusiastic than before,” concluded the 37-year-old fighter.