Joe Joyce stayed on course for a massive domestic showdown with fellow heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois by stopping German Michael Wallisch inside three rounds on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old Londoner (now 11-0 with 10 wins inside distance) returned to the ring for the first time in more than a year at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford – and produced a dominant display to see off the threat of Wallisch (now 20-4).
Promoter Frank had Warren admitted this week that having his men Joyce and Dubois take in interim fights ahead of their big planned October 24 clash at London’s O2 Arena was “a risk I would prefer not to be taking”, but explained it was a necessary evil as their showdown cannot happen until crowds are allowed back in UK arenas, and they both needed to get rid of ring rust from long lay-offs.
His fears of a heavyweight upset scuppering his plans proved unfounded on this occasion as Joyce took care of Wallisch, and now he will be hoping Dubois (14-0 with 13 inside) safely negotiates his appointment with another German – the unbeaten Erik Pfeifer (7-0 with 5 KOs) – on Saturday August 29, again at BT Sport Studios (live on BT Sport).
Joyce was as short as 1/150 with some bookmakers against fellow 34-year-old Wallisch – who had lost three of his last four fights before tonight after starting 19-0 in the paid ranks. Two of those defeats had come against useful heavyweight prospects in Efe Ajagba and 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight champion Tony Yoka – meaning Wallisch would provide a decent benchmark of where Joyce now stands in the heavyweight pecking order.
The opening session was definitely Joyce’s, but ‘The Juggernaut’ – as often – was pretty open and Wallisch was able to land a couple of decent right hands of his own.
Joe – who had come in a full stone heavier at 270lbs (19st 4lbs) than for his last outing against Bryant Jennings more than a year ago – took control in the second as Wallisch started to wilt noticeably, and he was down for the first time late in the round courtesy of a right to the body from Joyce.
Joe Joyce just does not stop coming 😳
The Juggernaut lands a huge blow to end the fight 👊 pic.twitter.com/VLyhUcqc5o
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) July 25, 2020
It now looked only a matter of time before Joyce registered his 11th win from as many starts in the paid ranks, and Wallisch was again decked by a hook early in the session before Joyce then closed the show with a third knockdown of the fight via a sickening right hand.
So now Joyce must wait and hope Dubois does indeed see off Pfeifer to avoid anything scuppering that October 24 date. And while he did what was expected of him here, surely further improvement is required if he is to burst the bubble of the highly-touted ‘Dynamite’.