Joyce: Joshua 'ripe for the picking' and should face me

By Sports Desk April 05, 2023

Joe Joyce expressed confidence he could overcome Anthony Joshua and feels he can provide a route back into title contention.

Joshua returned to winning ways against Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena last weekend, albeit not with the most impressive performance.

The 33-year-old is rebuilding his career after back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, which saw him cede his three heavyweight belts to the Ukrainian.

Joshua has taken on a new trainer in the United States and called out compatriot Tyson Fury following his unanimous decision win against Franklin.

Discussions for that bout have previously fallen through, however, and Joyce believes he possesses a route back into the title picture that should appeal to Joshua.

"I'd knock both of them out with their performance the other night. I'd definitely force a stoppage on Franklin and Joshua's ripe for the picking," he told Sky Sports.

"It wasn't great but [Joshua] got the job done. He went 12 rounds, I thought he would come with some more firepower and aim to push a stoppage but he wasn't really putting shots together.

"He was [using] single shots and boxed kind of like he did in the [Andy] Ruiz second fight. So, it was a little bit disappointing.

"He seems to have gone, in my opinion, a bit backwards. He hasn't progressed. I think he lacked the combinations, but I think Franklin was a tough guy.

"That would be his route back in. It would definitely be his way back in because I'm in front of him now, at last, high up the rankings and obviously got the WBO Interim.

"I was always trying to catch up with him but now I've overtaken him, so that's good. That's what I wanted. But I haven't caught up to him financially yet so I need to have those big fights."

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    The main bout will see Jamaica Defence Force's Ian "Impact" Darby, in his first professional fight on local soil and he is brimming with confidence that his rival Fabian "Truck" Tucker will not last beyond the second round.

    "The training level has been intense. We have a concept in the army that whatever task we are given, we must be prepared for it and so the Impact is well prepared. All thanks to my team, I am ready to come and showcase what I have been doing in my preparation for this fight. I am saying second round, knockout. The Impact is going to be victorious," he declared.

    However, Tucker has other ideas.

    "He is going to come under a lot of pressure because I am short, and he is tall, so I am going to stick on him the whole night. I will say maybe the third round (to knockout the opponent), definitely maybe the third round," said Tucker, who added that his preparation had gone well.

    For the first time since its inception, there will be a female match-up in the series. National representative Sherikee Moore will face off with Shanika "G Girl" Gordon.

    Gordon explained that she is fit and ready, especially with her army background.

    "They (spectators) should come out and watch this fight card because I know I will do my best. I will provide proper technique and everything because I am doing what I love so I Know I will put in the work," she said.

    Moore echoed similar sentiments.

    "You can expect the best as always. I'll come out and do my best, show my styles and my techniques. As for my opponent, the only thing I expect her to have over me is the fitness. I do believe I still have the fitness as well, although she might have more fitness than I do, so it's not going to be challenging. I think I'll handle this, and I'll do my best."

    Meanwhile, National coach Felipe Sanchez who is responsible for putting the fight card together, is very upbeat about the prospects.

    "Something that is particularly interesting to me is that we have three of Jamaica's national boxers fighting other boxers. So here, we are going to see if they are still the sharpest or are there other sharper tools in the shed. So, this is going to be very interesting to see if they keep their crown or if we have new rising stars on our hands so that is something interesting to look out for because nobody wants to go back to their gym or hometown to say I lost and worst when it's on national television," the coach reasoned.

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    Eccles told the PA news agency: “I’ve really had to do it the hard way, and just when I thought I was in the clear I got Covid again, so it felt like I was cursed and history was going to repeat itself.

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    “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Olympics, I remember sitting down when I was younger and watching the likes of Kelly Holmes. But boxing made me realise that this is my sport and this is where I want to be, and about a decade later it’s finally happened.”

    Having overcome her Covid setbacks, Eccles underscored her potential for Paris by coming through a tough draw in Krakow, including a notable win over Ireland’s world champion Amy Broadhurst to effectively seal her place.

    She will have the added bonus in the French capital of a change to the Olympic weights, which means she will be able to fight in her favoured 66kg category, rather than the 70kg division in which she won her gold medal in Birmingham.

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