Joe Joyce has been slightly derailed in his quest for an all-UK heavyweight showdown with Daniel Dubois following a judgement by the European Boxing Union.
‘The Juggernaut’ was originally due to face Marco Huck for the vacant EBU title this month. That was until the German pulled out through injury.
Joyce and his team, which includes co-manager Sam Jones, then hoped to land Dubois next with sanctioning for the coveted blue strap. Those plans have now been dashed.
EBU bosses have decided to ratify Filip Hrgovic as the next available contender. Hrgovic replaces Huck in a straight swap.
This means Joyce would lose out on a shot at the title if he decides to plow on with Dubois talks.
Serious Joyce vs Dubois negotiations had already begun between Frank Warren and S-Jam Boxing. They potentially may have to stall.
Should Joyce fully want to contest the European, on his way to a top division title shot, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist has to battle Hrgovic first.
Hrgovic representatives at Team Sauerland are more than keen to agree on a deal.
“CONFIRMED: European Heavyweight Championship ordered between Filip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce,” they stated proudly over the weekend. “(A) date and venue to be confirmed.”
— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) January 24, 2020
With confusion reigning as to what happens now, and if Joyce vs Dubois is dead in the water for the first half of 2020, Jones explained to WBN all is not yet lost.
“I can definitely confirm we’ve agreed to fight Daniel Dubois. But with the EBU ordering Joyce vs Hrgovic, it puts us in a unique situation. One we’ve worked hard for over the last two years,” Jones exclusively told World Boxing News.
“We’ve accepted the Dubois fight. That’s a fact. But do we take on Hrgovic? – In my opinion, it would get us closer to a world title shot and be a better fight to watch due to the styles.
“It’s a very interesting situation. But what I can guarantee the fans is, that Joe Joyce is going to be in some huge fights this year. Huge fights.”
Asked whether Joyce was now leaning towards Hrgovic over Dubois, Jones answered: “I’d say it’s totally 50/50 at the moment. We have to see where we go from here.”
Finally, given the fact that both Joyce and Dubois are promoted by Frank Warren and it’s an in-house fight, Jones replied to a question on whether Joyce could be ordered to face Hrgovic on the Matchroom platform the Croatian is currently signed to.
“There are no guarantees about that. But I’d say it’ll most likely go to a purse bid. We then see who gets the right to promote the fight,” he added.