British heavyweight Joe Joyce remained unbeaten as a professional today in London, but did have to go the distance for the first time in the pro ranks, beating Bryant Jennings by decision to go to 10-0 (9 KO).
Joyce, 33, won on scores of 115-112, 117-110, and 118-109. BLH had it 114-113 for Joyce.
Jennings (24-4, 14 KO) really did give Joyce the sort of test he was signed up to provide, as the 34-year-old American dropped his second straight fight but was competitive and never in any danger against Joyce, who, again, had stopped everyone he’d faced before this fight.
Jennings was docked a point in the 10th round for a low blow, which seemed sort of sudden but ultimately meant nothing on the official cards.
Joyce’s lack of hand speed — or foot speed, or speed of any kind — really seems like it’ll be a major problem for him at higher levels, but he marches on toward those levels, anyway. We also saw that his thudding power probably isn’t going to by itself be enough at those levels. Jennings has been stopped before, by Luis Ortiz and Oscar Rivas, but Joyce never had him hurt.
We’ll see with Joe Joyce, but if nothing else at least he’s not outright boring to watch. He throws punches, with a really high workrate for a guy his size, and he’s not afraid to take a shot, either, and appears to have a strong chin. Joyce was visibly hurt in the opening round on a body shot, but other than that Jennings never hurt him, either.
For Jennings, it’s a second straight defeat, as the former title challenger now sort of settles into a new stage of his career, where he’ll probably be tasked with testing out high-level prospect types for a bit, a job he seems well suited for when considering both his strengths and weaknesses as a fighter.
Liam Williams TKO-2 Karim Achour
France’s Achour (27-6-3, 4 KO) was never very likely to win this fight or even make it particularly close, but Williams (21-2-1, 15 KO) blasting him out in two is really pretty impressive, because Achour had never been stopped before. Achour went the 12-round distance with David Lemieux just 14 months ago, and a full 10 with Martin Murray back in 2012, so he’s faced some decent fighters. And we know Lemieux can bang if little else. But Williams steamrolled him here. Maybe Achour, 32, is just past it. Maybe it was a bad night. But whatever, Williams did the job in emphatic fashion. The 27-year-old Welsh fighter now has the WBC “silver” title at 160, too, so he’s in the mix officially.
Archie Sharp UD-10 Jordan McCorry
This one looked like it might end early, as Sharp (16-0, 8 KO) drilled McCorry (18-6-1, 4 KO) with a body shot, dropping him late in the third. McCorry got up, which was hard enough, and managed to get out of the round. And then Sharp just didn’t really go for a finish at any point. He kept hitting McCorry with good body shots, but he never really pressed. It’s a credit to McCorry’s toughness, but McCorry came right at Sharp throughout the fight, got hit with plenty, and after the third never seemed in any major danger of being stopped. Scores were 98-91 across the board, which seemed about right. McCorry was game but outclassed.
Sunny Edwards UD-10 Hiram Gallardo
Super flyweight prospect Sunny Edwards improved to 12-0 (4 KO) with a wide decision win over Mexico’s Hiram Gallardo (12-3-2, 4 KO). Judges were unanimous, scoring it 99-90 for the 23-year-old Edwards, the young brother of WBC flyweight titleholder Charlie. Sunny’s at least as talented a fighter as his brother, and could really be someone to watch in the 115-pound division over the next year or two. He’s not a big puncher, but he’s skilled and slick.