By Barry Holbrook: Joe Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) immediately called out unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk after his eleventh round knockout victory over Joseph Parker (30-3, 21 KOs) on Saturday night at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
The win for Joyce earned him the interim WBO title, pulling him into the pole position to challenge Usyk for his WBO title. It’s possible that by the time Joyce gets a title shot next year, Tyson Fury will be the one that he’s facing for the WBO belt.
Joyce did an excellent job of becoming the first to knockout Parker, but it wasn’t easy. He had to battle hard and take a lot of heavy shots to eventually wear Parker down to get the stoppage in the 11th round.
In the 11th, Joyce landed a perfect left hook to the head of Parker, sending him down on his backside on the canvas. The fight was halted when Parker couldn’t get up in time to beat the count.
If Parker had made it up in time, Parker would have finished him off immediately because he was a mess when got back to his feet after the fight had been stopped.
“It does hurt, but I’m tough. I’m the Juggernaut,” said Joyce at the post-fight press conference about what it’s like getting hit by Parker.
“This is my proper pay-per-view fight with a big crowd and a big arena. Massive thanks to everyone that came down.
“Usyk if he wants to go toe-to-toe again,” said Joyce when asked who he wanted to fight next. “Tyson Fury mentioned he wanted to have a scrap.”
Right now, it’s likely that Usyk won’t be the one that winds up facing Joyce. Fury is going to be a huge favorite to defeat Usyk in February or March, and then it’ll be his responsibility to defend against Joyce if he doesn’t retire.
With Fury, he’s got about as much interest in sticking around as Usyk does, and it’s possible that he’ll give up his titles and retire rather than deal with the ‘Juggernaut.’
All the gimmicky stuff that Fury used to defeat Deontay Wilder by leaning him on him and throwing rabbit punches won’t work against Joyce. I’m afraid that Joyce would wind up wearing Fury down in the same way he did Parker and knocking him out.
In the end, Fury will smell the coffee and realize that he doesn’t want any of the smoke from Joyce and will hang up his gloves rather than go out on his backside like Parker.
“Bryan Jennings was a tough fight for 12 rounds,” said Joyce. “I was hoping this fight wasn’t going to go 12 rounds. That’s why I went to finish it because it was tough. I had to dig deep in there.
“I’m glad it hit him with a left hook in the 11th. He was kind of going in the seventh, but he held on and still threw back.”
Parker looked like he was ready to go in the seventh round after Joyce unloaded on him with a storm of shots. I don’t know how Parker made it out of the round, but he was ineffective from that point on. Joyce took the best out of Parker, and he was spent force afterward.
“No, but he knows it’s going to be a tough fight, but I guess he wants it,” said Joyce when asked if Tyson Fury said anything to him after the fight. Also his relationship with Joe. I think he wants the fight,” said Joyce.
“I’d really like to get the Usyk fight. I just think they have history from the past in the amateurs,” said promoter Frank Warren on who he was Joyce to fight next. “Joe is a big man now, he’s matured more, and I think he’d give Usyk a lot of problems.
“Usyk is a very smart fighter, but I think Joe’s resilience, his jab, I think would give him a lot of problems. But it won’t happen. He’s not going to fight until next February or March, and that’ll be Tyson.
“But after that, the idea of this interim title, the WBO mandatory will have to be serviced against him. No one can get in the way of that. So he’s in a magnificent position,” said Warren.
“It’s a good statement, and I aim to make statements,” said Joyce about him being able to knock out Parker, who hadn’t been stopped in his previous losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
“I did a better job. It shows my class and my level. I belong at this top level. I had to dig deep in there. I was thinking. I didn’t want to blow a gasket because it’s 12 rounds. I also wanted to pick up the pace.
“I was hitting him with everything, and I felt he wasn’t going to go, and I thought he was going to go all the way 12 rounds. I was happy when I connected with that left hook and dropped him.
“That’s what I was doing in practicing in sparring,” said Joyce about pushing Parker around the ring. “He was doing a lot of holding & clinching, making it untidy.
“They’re both top level,” said Joyce when asked which is the tougher fight for him between Fury and Usyk. “They both have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s different fighters, so they both are very challenging. They’re top-level.
“Tyson Fury is taller, can switch, long-range, very skillful. Usyk is the smaller guy, the southpaw. You know how technically good he is. I think Fury can bang a bit more than Usyk.
“Usyk is quicker and has snappy punches. But then again, Fury is fast as well and puts combinations together. They’re both really tough.
“Dubois,” said Joyce when asked who hits harder between Parker and Daniel Dubois. “But then like, Parker is a lot more tricky and harder to hit.
“Dubois if you stand and trade with him and he lets one go, he can really hit. That’s great. Now, I get the credit I deserve from this fight. It makes me at the elite level.
“I’m happy. I enjoyed the fight. I got the win. I got the highlight knockout.
“Let’s make the fight happen,” said Joyce about his message to Usyk.