Fresh off his fourth-round knockout of Christian Hammer 27-10 (17) at Wembley Arena in London on the weekend, Joyce’s promoter Frank Warren is now looking at the next big challenge for the 36-year-old.
One option Warren is considering exploring is a fight with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 42-2-1 (41).
The 36-year-old American has not fought since his 11th round knockout loss to Tyson Fury 32-0-1 (23) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada last October.
All three blemishes on Wilder’s record came against Fury. He salvaged a split draw in their first bout in December 2018 courtesy of two late knockdowns, while he was stopped in seven one-sided rounds in their rematch in February 2020.
Losses aside, Wilder remains arguably the biggest puncher in boxing and he knows how to sell a fight.
“I’ve got no problem making that fight. Absolutely, no problem if it’s there and can be done, I’d love to do it.
“Why wouldn’t we try and do that fight? It would be a great fight. No problem,” Warren told iFL TV.
“Of course, if it landed, but can you imagine Joe landing his [shots] on his chin. It’s not a problem. I may speak to [Wilder’s manager] Shelly [Finkel] about it.”
Joyce is expected to return to the ring in September, the same month he will turn 37. And although heavyweights are known to mature later than boxers in the lighter weight classes, time is not on his side.
A bout against a former world champion makes sense if he wants to challenge for a world title. Joyce is already the WBO number one contender, but a bridging fight before a world title bid would be helpful.
Ukrainian southpaw Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13) will defend his WBA, WBO and IBF belts against Anthony Joshua 24-2 (22) in an immediate rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20. Brit Joshua lost his unified championship to Usyk by unanimous decision in Tottenham, England last September.
Joyce will be in a position to face the winner but his mandatory title shot could be pushed back if the winner pursues a fight with current WBC champion Fury.
The 33-year-old Brit declared he was retiring following his sixth-round knockout victory over Dillian Whyte in April, but few people seem to believe him as he is yet to renounce his green belt.
Whatever happens in the rest of the division, Joyce is moving ahead.
“Joe fights on the 24th of September. We are working on opponents. We have been working on prior to the fight, hoping he was coming through, which he has done,” Warren said.
“We want to be in a position where we’re announcing something early next week for him, and get it and on sale. That’s what we’re looking to try and do.”