Joe Joyce moved closer to a world heavyweight title shot by claiming the WBO interim title with a brilliant victory over former champion Joseph Parker in Manchester.
The 37-year-old Joyce (15-0 with 14 wins inside distance) is a man in a hurry to reach the very top of the heavyweight mountain, and he took another giant step towards that goal with his finest performance yet.
Joyce (271lbs) was just too much for Parker as he walked through everything Joseph could threw at him in a bruising slugfest.
Parker was cut over the right eye as the fight entered the second half, and despite back-and-forth action it was Joyce who was landing the more damaging punches.
The end, when it came, was fantastic as Joyce landed a devastating left hook in Round 11 to close the show in some style.
Joyce now mandatory for Usyk
There had been hope that IBF, WBA and WBO champion Usyk would face WBC and lineal king Tyson Fury next in a huge unification showdown. That bout would crown the sport’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis back in 1999.
Usyk though apparently wants to wait until 2023 for that showdown to let his body recover from the Joshua rematch. Fury instead is now trying to finalise a massive December 3 showdown with huge domestic rival Joshua.