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Forgotten heavyweight forced to watch on as knockout victim gets title shot

Heavyweight “Juggernaut” Joe Joyce will be an interested viewer this weekend as most recent victim Daniel Dubois gets a surprise shot at an interim title.

Joyce impressed last November when taking the undefeated record of Dubois. He forced the Londoner to take a knee due to a severe eye injury.

Many then expected that the 35-year-old would push towards a heavyweight title chance for the vacant WBO championship against Oleksandr Usyk.

The Ukrainian was awaiting a fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua to conclude as the WBO’s mandatory challenger. The least Usyk was supposed to get was an interim opportunity himself.

If that happened, Joyce would be the opponent as the next rated conteder.

But once Fury vs. Joshua fell apart due to all sides taking for granted that Deontay Wilder would accept a step aside, Joyce was the man who missed out.

Fury faces Wilder in the summer. At the same time, Joshua is more than likely to battle Usyk to eliminate his WBO stipulation.

So, where does this leave Joyce? – Well, in no-mans-land.

Joe Joyce Daniel Dubois win

Frank Warren

Promoter Frank Warren plowed on with getting Dubois instantly back in the mix against Bogdan Dinu. He somehow even managed to persuade the WBA to approve their lesser trinket for the bout despite Dubois losing his last fight.

Warren did not foresee Fury vs. Joshua collapsing as horrifically as it did. Therefore, there was no room to push out Dubois in favor of Joyce. It was simply too late.


Warren has since focused his efforts on securing the European title for Joyce as a consolation prize to his credit.

The EBU has set a June 14th purse bid deadline. The situation comes after Warren confirmed Joyce was willing to participate in a match-up with former world cruiserweight title-holder and heavyweight challenger Marco Huck.

Therefore, something should be sorted for Joyce by mid-month, potentially for a home clash with Huck at the back end of the summer.

Should Dubois beat Dinu, as expected, “Dynamite” will be one step closer to a shot at Trevor Bryan. If Bryan’s promoter unfathomably agrees to put one of his top division stars in with a live contender, then “DDD” may well be holding the secondary version by the end of this year.

Joyce – provided he claims the European strap against Huck – is a shoo-in to be first in line for Dubois if justice gets served in 2022.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.