As the dust settled on Joe Joyce’s 11th professional victory, Daniel Dubois – Joyce’s re-scheduled October 24th opponent – dialed in from the comfort of his home in Greenwich.
“I’m coming for you,” the 34-year-old heavyweight declared into the camera before an unnerved, relaxed Dubois – due to fight Erik Pfeifer on August 29th – responded in a similarly forced manner. “I’m prepared. I’m going to bring a good fight to Joe, and I can’t wait.”
It’s an unnatural rivalry that has been born out of necessity at Queensberry Promotions. Two heavy-hitters with featherweight tongues instructed to serve up “beef” while plating up a delicate salad, to BT Sport’s frustration.
Joyce and Dubois are two of the sport’s nice guys. Mild-mannered, polite and approachable; their gentlemanly tendencies are unquestionable. Charisma may not seep from every pore of their burly frames, but their ruthlessness inside the ring caveats their tactfulness in front of the cameras.
Frank Warren has arguably jumped the gun in putting these unbeaten Briton’s in the ring together later this year – he should be applauded for doing so. The 68-year-old clearly appreciates the value in having an unquestioned #1 contender to push into the heavyweight deep end when the time is right.
Joyce walked through an overmatched Michael Wallisch on Saturday night in preparation for Dubois just three months down the line, but as far as dress rehearsals go, Joyce’s preparations for the 22-year-old seem way off where they could be.
Joyce is renowned for being a slow starter. Wallisch got through with a handful of left hooks and straight rights in the opening stanzas inside the quarantined studios, with Joyce relying on his toughness and “Juggernaut” engine to walk through the best of what the German had to offer.
Joyce was clinical in the third round executing a right hand and beautifully timed left to the body. Still, this version of Joyce would have to be considered a sizable underdog against “Dynamite”.
Joyce weighed in at a career-high of 270 pounds on Saturday evening and believed that this additional timber might have affected his mobility in the contest. Steve Broughton temporarily replaced Joyce’s trainer Ismael Salas for this camp due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“I did enjoy lockdown. With a longer training camp that weight would drop off. I was going for the record with my PB,” Joyce mused. “I’ll be fitter and more explosive with added Latin flair from [Ismael] Salas’ input.
“I would like to get back as soon as possible [to the US],” Joyce added, hoping to join Salas in Las Vegas as soon as he can. “If I can’t travel there, he will just have to come here [to the UK].”
“Honestly, I don’t think we learnt a lot about Joe tonight,” Martin Bowers, Daniel Dubois’ coach commented after the fight. “I just hope that’s enough rounds to do before getting in against Dan [Daniel Dubois]. Joe does what he does; we do what we do.”
Joyce’s decision to walk through Wallisch instead of attempting to implement a more savvy, elusive game plan may well come back to haunt him in October. Rounds are most valuable if they act in preparation for a future date, but Joyce fought to type – a type that will play into the fists of the heavy-handed one-dimensional one-twos of “DDD” Dubois.
There’s still plenty of water to pass under the bridge from now until October 24th, with three months of Salas-inspired tutelage for Joyce to work on a recipe to defeat Dubois. The youngster is currently a 1/5 (-500) favourite to topple the “Juggernaut” and Saturday night would have done very little to deter anyone backing Dubois this early.