Former Olympic boxer Joe Joyce has been making steady progress through the heavyweight ranks since turning pro in October 2017.
Joyce is now 33 years of age and looking to progress quicker than most nine fight boxers.
The last two opponents have seen an increase in the level Joyce has faced. He beat former world champion Bermane Stiverne by TKO in the sixth to win the Commonwealth title.
In his last outing, Joyce beat former world title contender Alexander Ustinov in convincing fashion via a third-round stoppage.
Next month Joyce faces arguably his stiffest test to date when he takes on another former contender, Bryant Jennings (24-3, 14 KOs).
Jennings is coming off a defeat against Oscar Rivas earlier this year and will be looking to get back to winning ways. The only other losses ‘By-By- suffered were against Luis Ortiz and Wladimir Klitschko.
Joyce is managed by Sam Jones who recently spoke with WBN, regarding his charge.
Jones and Jennings had a bit of set-to at the press conference recently, which Jones laughed off when I asked him about it.
“Well he made some funny comments,” Jones exclusively explained to World Boxing News. “It brought some fun to the press conference. I think everyone enjoyed it, whether it was at my expense or not.”
Despite the exchange of words, Jones expects Jennings to turn up prepared.
“Jennings always turns up in fantastic shape. He’s a tremendous athlete, he lives a very clean life, he’s a proper athlete. He has fought at the highest level, only lost to Ortiz, Rivas and Klitschko. He has some big names on his record, beat Mike Perez and Dimitrenko. He’s a tremendous fighter.
“Joe is going to have to be at his absolute best to beat him.”
Jones was quick to agree that this is Joyce’ biggest test to date.
“One hundred percent it’s his hardest test!” exclaimed Jones. “Joe could have gone for an easy option. We originally wanted (Agit) Kabayel, for the European. That fight wasn’t available as Kabayel didn’t want to fight Joe as a voluntary, even though Joe is mandated to fight him, he is allowed a voluntary.
“So we chose Bryant Jennings as he was the best available name. We want proper tests and he’s going to test everything. He’s fast, experienced, you only have to look at him to see he takes the game seriously. He is in brilliant shape.
“It’s going to be a very interesting fight. We expect Joe to rise to the occasion and do a serious job on him.”
On the same bill as Joyce-Jennings will see the British heavyweight title fight between Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman. There had been murmurs that the winner could face Joyce. Jones is not so sure.
“I don’t know,” Jones explained, “Joe is at world class level. You have two top ten heavyweights fighting against each other. I don’t think (that’s likely).
“I think Dubois and Gorman would say they want to fight the winner of Joe and Jennings but we are not looking at the winner of the British, we are looking ahead. Looking higher and higher.
“No disrespect but I think Joe is at a higher level than the pair of them right now.”
Jones feels the fights will happen down the line sometime.
“Of course, definitely, these fights will happen eventually at some point. They are all under the same promotional banner, easy fights to make, very interesting fights.
“Yeah, one hundred percent. But we’ve got higher aims, aiming for world titles in the very near future. I think coming back down and fighting for a British right now wouldn’t show progression!”
Mick Kane is a contributor to World Boxing News. Follow Mick on Twitter @MickKaneMMA