Joe Joyce has a dance partner for his July 2nd return to the ring, which will see him face veteran Christian Hammer as part of Queensberry’s Jason Cunningham vs. Zolani Tete show in London.
Hammer (27-9, 17 KO), 34, is comfortably in the “show up, lose to the A-side, get paid” stage of his career. Last January’s loss to Frank Sanchez was one of the most amazingly zero-effort performances I’ve ever seen, as he landed a putrid 2.4 punches per round.
Not the kind of opponent we want to see Joyce (13-0, 12 KO) waste the last vestiges of his prime against, but “The Juggernaut” has been screwed left and right since battering Daniel Dubois into submission back in November 2020. Heavyweight unification shenanigans burned months from his career as he waited for the green light to face Oleksandr Usyk for the interim WBO title, injury kept him out of action for the first half of 2022, and Joseph Parker cemented his heel turn by first delaying a fight with Joyce and then binning it altogether by signing with BOXXER.
While he’s still #1 with the WBO and #2 with the WBC behind Deontay Wilder, the impending Tyson Fury circus after the constantly delayed Usyk-Joshua 2 could keep him out of a title fight for years. Joyce is a victim of circumstance, questionable management, and a system that has proven hilariously inept at dealing with unified champions.