Joe Joyce July 2 return will be vs Christian Hammer

Joe Joyce will make his eagerly-awaited return to action vs experienced German heavyweight Christian Hammer on Saturday July 2 at Wembley Arena.

The unbeaten 36-year-old star (13-0) had already been confirmed to come back from almost exactly a year out on a BT Sport bill which features Jason Cunningham v Zolani Tete, Callum Johnson and Nathan Heaney.

But on Thursday his opponent was confirmed as the 34-year-old Hammer (27-9), who has been in with a string of top names during his pro career. They include Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, Hughie Fury and Frank Sanchez.

Joyce finally back after a year out

Joyce has not fought since stopping French warhorse Carlos Takam in July of last year and he suffered a broken wrist which kept him out of action in the first half of this year.

“The most important thing is to get Joe active and confident again after injury,” said promoter Frank Warren.

“Christian Hammer is an experienced campaigner who will provide a decent test and give him a good fight, but obviously we expect Joe to come through it successfully and then start preparing for a bigger showdown later this year.

“It was well documented that it was our intention to match Big Joe with Joseph Parker in September, but Parker has now opted to sign a promotional agreement elsewhere. Joe’s route to a world title shot does not revolve around Parker and we have plans in place for a major fight for him in the autumn.”

Joe Joyce on Christian Hammer

Joyce meanwhile said: “I’ve known about Christian Hammer for a while now. He has fought everybody, it is going to be a good fight, he comes forward and it will be exciting. It is one to get me ready for the next fights coming up.

“I’ve been out of the ring for a whole year now so it will be good to dust off the gloves and shake off the cobwebs. It is going to be a big year, this year and next, with some great fights and I just need to be in the right place.

“I have taken myself out to the right place with this training camp here to bring out the best in me.”