While we will have to wait until later this year until Britain’s world heavyweight champion boxers step back into the ring, other fighters are advertising their claims in the division.
Joe Joyce (12-0) pulled off an iconic upset last autumn when he dethroned Daniel Dubois for a series of minor championships. The reigning British, Commonwealth, and European champion now defends his WBC Silver and WBO international heavyweight titles against Cameroon-born veteran Carlos Takam (29-5-1) in the Wembley Arena on the night of July 24th.
Joyce turned professional quite late following an extensive amateur career culminating in a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. His tenth round KO of “Triple D” was a career-best effort, even though he had beaten former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne of Canada.
The irony is that various boxing organizations still place Joyce pretty low on their rankings ladders. Joyce isn’t any better than the number two contender with the WBO, so, in theory, he should meet the winner of Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk next. If only sport were that simple.
Meanwhile, the IBO and WBC favorite Dillian Whyte was among the correct betting predictions to gain revenge on Alexander Povetkin earlier this year. Takam lost a bout against Povetkin back in 2014, so it’s no wonder that Joyce is a hot favorite to win their fight.
Even less logical is the WBA having Dubois as their interim champion at heavyweight. Joyce defeated his British rival fair and square, yet he isn’t even in the top 10 with that federation. Other organizations like the IBF have him just inside that, with the WBC making him sixth in line and the IBO their number five contender.
Although there are many solid British heavyweight fighters in the sport right now, and Joshua and Tyson Fury enjoys a monopoly of all the world title belts, other nations should consider. Ukrainian boxer Usyk’s exploits as an undisputed cruiserweight champion have been followed by a seamless step up into the division, although he hasn’t had a major examination yet.
Takam, who has also lost bouts with Joseph Parker, Joshua, and Derek Chisora in recent years, is a former world heavyweight title challenger. Despite being 40 years old and having fewer fights ahead of him than under his belt, he presents a decent test for Joyce.
The odds suggest this bout will not be as competitive as tackling “Dynamite” Dubois for him. At 35 years old, Joyce isn’t a spring chicken himself, but the full attention of the boxing world will now be on him following the postponement of Fury and Deontay Wilder’s trilogy fight across the Atlantic.
Facing Takam is a nice follow-up fight to the test provided by the powerful Dubois, who has since bounced back and claimed the WBA interim heavyweight title with a second-round stoppage of Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in June. Joyce can only further underline his claims when he returns to the ring later this month.