Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Joe Joyce vs Oleksandr Usyk? 'Juggernaut' plans to steamroll towards WBO heavyweight title
Joe Joyce wants to fight Oleksandr Usyk; Eddie Hearn says a deal could be struck; Usyk's co-promoter reiterates he is eyeing Anthony Joshua's WBO belt; AJ puts his world heavyweight titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office
Last Updated: 30/11/20 11:58pm
Joe Joyce is targeting Oleksandr Usyk who has been warned that "against the real big boys he will come unstuck".
Joyce defeated Daniel Dubois by inflicting a broken orbital bone in a 10th-round stoppage in Saturday's fight between previously-unbeaten heavyweight contenders, and is now looking towards a shot at the WBO title.
Anthony Joshua is defending the IBF, WBA and WBO belts against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and wants to fight WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021, but must also contend with Usyk as his mandatory challenger.
"Joe wants Usyk for the WBO belt," Joyce's manager Sam Jones told Sky Sports.
"If Joshua doesn't vacate, he has to fight Usyk.
"I hope Joshua does vacate and we'll fight Usyk - Joe is very confident in that fight as well.
"Rightfully, Joe should take Dubois' No 2 slot [in the WBO rankings].
"If the belt becomes vacant, Usyk would have to fight Joe for the title.
"It's a great fight, an intriguing fight, Usyk is a brilliant character and an unbelievable fighter who Joe has admiration for."
Promoter Eddie Hearn said on Monday that he could strike a deal to make Joyce vs Usyk.
Usyk's co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk, who works alongside Hearn, then told Sky Sports: "The thing is that the WBO belt is occupied by Joshua. And unless [he doesn't keep it] Usyk is targeting AJ."
But Joyce insisted to Sky Sports: "I want to win a heavyweight world title.
"Derek Chisora put up a valiant effort but Usyk's skills were better. Against me? It would be a different story.
"It would be a mental battle but a physical one too because he'd have a big 'Juggernaut' coming towards him for 12 rounds."
Usyk defeated Joyce in an amateur bout in 2013 - that was just five years into the Brit's career and he believes the outcome would be different with both men now in their prime.
"He was very fast and agile, and levels above me in terms of skill," Joyce remembered about their first meeting.
"Being a light, agile southpaw he has a lot of footwork. He caught me clean with shots that had a sting but they weren't heavy enough for me to worry. At that time I tried to take one to land two."
His manager Jones added: "Usyk won but, if you watch the fight, Joe was always in it. Joe was raw and inexperienced at the time, and Usyk had too much know-how.
"Joe had never sparred a southpaw in his life before fighting Usyk!
"Joe is a lot bigger than [Usyk's most recent opponent] Derek Chisora and throws a lot more punches.
"Joe would be written off again and would go into this fight as a big underdog again but we are very confident he could topple Usyk.
"Usyk is a genius, I love watching him, he is arguably the greatest cruiserweight of all time. But against the real big boys he will come unstuck.
"And Joe is a real big boy, and Usyk will come unstuck."
I am getting the best possible work right now, I feel better than ever sparring Tyson, making me a better fighter as he is the most talented I’ve been in the ring with, which brings the best out of me. You would pay good money to see these spars! #teamuk 🇬🇧 #THEJUGGERNAUT pic.twitter.com/MZTtIZEYAz— Joe Joyce (@JoeJoyceBoxing) October 27, 2018
Olympic silver medallist Joyce is a new addition to the world title mix after interrupting the prodigious rise of 23-year-old Dubois at the weekend.
"Joe would fight absolutely anybody," said Jones.
"Tony Yoka [who beat Joyce in the 2016 Olympic final] called Joe out which is ridiculous because he's done nothing to deserve it.
"But it's good to be in a position where people come from under the floorboards suddenly wanting to fight Joe.
"We are in a very, very good position now.
"Joshua and Fury are both the kings of the division. It would be special to fight Fury or Joshua - we would fight either, everybody agrees they are the two kingpins."
How Joyce broke Dubois down
"I was surprised the jab was landing so nicely all fight long," said Joyce.
"I took some shots.
"I thought I would be able to throw more combinations as he got tired, but he was still in there with me. He was still dangerous.
"I could only use the jab to stay out of harm's way so I just stuck to that.
"He does hit hard, especially for the first three or four rounds. There were some heavy shots I had to avoid.
"I had to make him respect my power too because I didn't want him walking forwards, taking the mick!
"I heard him breathing throughout and, after the third round when he threw a big salvo, I knew he couldn't keep up with me.
"I wanted to prove a point by knocking him out.
"I thought they might have thrown the towel in. It was only going one way - I'd taken his best shots, worked out what he could do, and was landing my shots comfortably.
"I wasn't thinking about it going to points. I wanted to knock him out. If I saw an opportunity I would have gone for that, but I stuck to what was working."