Joe Joyce may have been “a bit portly round the middle” for his clash with Michael Wallisch on Saturday night – but he says he’ll be fully ready at prime fighting weight after a full training camp for the big showdown with Daniel Dubois on October 24.
Joyce (now 11-0 with 10 inside) weighed in at 270lbs (19st 4lbs) for his third-round stoppage of the German Wallisch (20-4) at BT Sport Studios – more than a stone heavier than for his last bout, a points defeat of Bryant Jennings just over a year ago.
That long and enforced hiatus – mainly courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic – meant Joyce’s preparation was not ideal, something he was keen to emphasise after his victory.
He told BT Sport Boxing: “I’m a bit portly round the middle, but hey, it’s been tough being in quarantine – you’d can’t really do as much training as you’d like. It’s good to get back in the gym again – they were open today at last. Luckily I’ve been able to use private gyms and get back to boxing training which is so good, to get back on the bags, get back on the pads and get back in the ring.”
Joyce’s main aim on Saturday was just to get rid of some of that inevitable ring rust and come through the bout unscathed with that big carrot of October 24 against Dubois (14-0 with 13 inside) at London’s O2 Arena dangling right in front of him.
He explained: “To get out of the ring with no injuries, get off the ring rust and see if I still had it. And to work on the stuff I’ve been doing in training. I didn’t get a long training camp, but it was a good step to get ready for Dubois – such a big fight.
“All respect to my opponent for coming down, he put a great effort, but like me was in lockdown too and he took some heavy hits, and I got the ring rust and I got him out of there.”
Joyce, on a live video link with Dubois from his home, had a simple message for his next opponent – warning him: “I’m coming for you from a full training camp, I’ve got plenty of time to prepare, I’ll be ready and I’ll be watching your fight closely. I’m coming.”
Dubois meanwhile – who now has his own interim fight against Erik Pfeifer (7-0 with 5 KOs) to negotiate on Saturday August 29 – told Joyce: “You got the job done. We’re signed (for October 24), we’re ready to go. It was a decent performance. The guy, he looked like he was ready to quit after the first round, but you dismantled him pretty good.”
Joyce’s victory will also be a great relief to Frank Warren – whose Queensberry Promotions looks after both Joyce and Dubois. He admitted the pair having interim fights was “a risk I would rather not be taking”. He explained the reasoning for it though, saying they both needed to shake off ring rust in the interim as their bout cannot take place until crowds are allowed back into arenas.