Undefeated British Heavyweight sensation Joe Joyce came face-to-face with Bermane Stiverne ahead of their Commonwealth Title clash.
But it erupted between the Former World Champion and the British fighter’s manager.
Joyce defends his Commonwealth title against the Canadian puncher in the chief-support to James DeGale’s mouthwatering showdown with Chris Eubank Jr. this Saturday night (23rd February) at The O2.
DeGale v Eubank is promoted by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and Poxon Sports, exclusively live in the U.K on ITV Box Office in the U.S on Showtime.
The Londoner was in a determined mood, confident that his destructive fists will do all the talking on Saturday night.
He said, “I’m feeling great, having had a great training camp at Big Bear, California. I’m ready to put a dent on Stiverne, so make sure you’re there to see it!
“I have all the respect for him as a former WBC Champ. But it’s a stepping stone to greater things for me. I’m moving fast, each fight is getting me closer to the top three names in the sport.
“I’ll be going straight back into the gym after I win this fight to prepare for the next challenge. I’m determined to make big strides in my career this year.”
Responding to reports that Stiverne got the better of him in a four round sparring session four years ago, Joyce drew rapturous laughter from the audience when he commented: “He says he took me to school in training…But I went to University!”
Stiverne initially appeared to be in a serene mood. Knowing victory will catapult back into World Title contention.
He said, “I feel great and I’m prepared. We could talk all we want right now but what matters is Saturday night at The O2.
“I didn’t come all this way to lose. I’ve come prepared and we can talk about the future when I’ve taken care of Joe.”
The air of calmness momentarily slipped however, when Joyce’s manager Sam Jones suggested that Stiverne ducked opportunities to spar with Joe before he fought Dominic Breazeale in 2017.
Stiverne erupted and screamed, “You were just seeking publicity! I don’t want to talk to you. Sit your ass down!
But Stiverne flipped moments later when he said to Jones, “Don’t get me hot. I’ll slap you today and still fight Saturday…little b**** that you are.” and had to be restrained by security guards as he went towards Jones.
The 6ft 6in ‘Juggernaut’ from Putney, South West London, has steamrolled all seven of his opponents since turning professional in October 2017. On the back of capturing the Silver medal at the Rio Olympics, to single himself out as one of the most feared talents in the Heavyweight division.
Clashing with Stiverne represents a giant step up in class. It will see Joyce take on the riskiest test of his unbeaten career, but with huge rewards.
The rock-solid power puncher was born in Montreal, Canada, of Haitian descent. He is based out of Las Vegas. Stiverne held the WBC crown for two years and has fought some of the very finest in the division, including Deontay Wilder and Chris Arreola. A 29-fight career has included 21 stunning knock-outs.
If fearless Joyce pulls off victory against a man of Stiverne’s pedigree, he will catapult himself within touching distance of a world title shot. Joyce can establish himself as a name on everybody’s lips. Alongside Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder at the very top of a thrilling Heavyweight division
In 1976, nobody gave Leon Spinks – who had only seven professional fights behind him at the time – a chance in hell. It was announced he would fight the legendary Muhammad Ali for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship.
Spinks however, shocked the planet to beat Ali. There are certainly parallels between that historic upset and Joyce’s fight with the older seasoned pro in Stiverne.
Joyce’s promoter Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports, said, “Stiverne is in tremendous shape. He’s a difficult guy to beat. But I am going to make a bold statement by telling you that Joe Joyce today is the best Heavyweight in the world.
“By the end of the year I believe he will be Heavyweight Champion of the World. By next year he will be ready to take on Fury, Wilder and Joshua. He is a generational talent.”
Carl Lewis, representing Don King, Stiverne’s promoter, said, “This fight won’t be a stepping stone for Joe Joyce, it’s gonna be a stumbling block!
“Everyone is so kind here in the UK but thanks for the tea and crumpets. W are here for a special night of fighting. Make no mistake, Bermane is ready.
“It’s great for a 7-0 fighter to want to take on a former Heavyweight Champion of the World, but Joyce has made a big mistake.”