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Joe Joyce vs. Ian Lewison on Oct.20

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By Scott Gilfoid: 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce will be making his pro debut next month against British domestic level fighter Ian Lewison (12-3-1, 8 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout on October 20 at the Indigo at The O2 in London, England.

This is a fairly advanced opponent for Joyce to be starting his pro career out against, but with him about to turn 32-years-old on September 19, he can’t afford to be brought along slowly the way some heavyweights are after they turn pro. Besides, Joyce’s style of fighting isn’t one in which he needs a ton of fluff fights at the start of his career the way some fighters do. The 6’6” Joyce already has the boxing skills, size, power and style to make him successful right out the gate.

Joyce recently signed with Hayemaker Promotions, and he’s being given the fast track to the top. Facing Lewison, 35, will be a good test for Joyce, as he recently was stopped in the 10th round by Dillian Whyte on October 7 last year at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. If Joyce can get Lewison out of there much faster than Whyte, then that would give a good indication of how he measures up against him. Lewison has only been stopped once in his 8-year pro career. It would say a lot if Joyce can wear Lewison down and stop him early.

Joyce is rumored to have dropped Anthony Joshua in sparring, and given him a really tough time. It’s not surprising because Joyce is a big body puncher, and he fights at a fast pace. Joshua is not good at righting at a fast pace where he has to take heavy shots. You can argue that Joyce has the perfect style to end Joshua’s short reign at heavyweight if he can get a fight against him. That’s the big question. David Haye still hasn’t gotten a fight against Joshua and neither have Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz.

Besides Dillian Whyte, Lewison has fought Timo Hoffman, Derric Rossy and Tom Dallas. Rossy beat Lewison by a 3 round split decision four years ago in the Prizefighter Tournament on February 23, 2013. That was a long time ago. Lewison would have a good chance of beating Rossy now if the two of them were to face each other.

Here’s how the Joyce vs. Lewison fight shapes up:

• Power: Joyce

• Size: Joyce

• Pedigree: Joyce

• Speed: Even

• Talent: Joyce

• Punch resistance: Joyce

• Stamina: Unclear. It’s still too early to tell how good Joyce’s stamina is. We’ll find out shortly as his pro career evolves. But, based on how Joyce looked like the stronger fighter at the end of his fight against Tony Joya in the finals of the 2016 Olympics, I would have to say that Joyce’s stamina will be good at the pro level. Joyce looks far better conditioned compared to Lewison.
Lewison is going to come right at Joyce on October 20 looking to slug it out. This one is going to end really early. I cannot see Lewison lasting for more than 1 or 2 rounds with him trying to trade shots with Joyce. This fight will have a lot of fireworks, but Lewison is just not made to fight like that against someone like Joyce.

“We’re very excited for Joe to get his pro career started,” Ringstar promoter Richard Schaefer said to ESPN.com. “In his second fight, there’s a good chance he will already go for the Commonwealth title. As his trainer (Cuba’s) Ismael Salas, told me, he believes that within six or seven fights Joe will be ready to fight for a world title.”

I wish I could say that Joyce will be fighting Anthony Joshua for his titles within 7 fights, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn will likely suggest that the Joshua vs. Joyce fight needs to marinate to make it bigger. I think that’s code talk for Hearn not wanting to put Joshua in with a guy that has a style that is all wrong for him.

Hearn is talking about Joshua having a 10-year reign as the top heavyweight in boxing. If Joyce knocks him off the hill by 2018, Hearn is going to be wondering what happened to his vision thing. That’s why it’s probably not feasible for Joyce to fight Joshua next year unless one of the sanctioning bodies quickly pushes Joyce to No.1 as the mandatory challenger for Joshua. It’ll be a good fight though if Joshua and Joyce face each other next year. For all intents and purposes, Joyce should have won the 2016 Olympic gold medal.

A lot of boxing fans thought Joyce was robbed in his finals match against France’s Tony Yoka. I thought Joyce clearly won the fight and had Yoka hurt and exhausted. The scoring in the Olympics sometimes makes no sense. You get guys winning gold medals after appearing to lose their fights for the medal. In some cases, you have fighters that win gold medals after winning 3 controversial decisions in a row. Joyce looked like the better fighter than Yoka in the 2016 Olympics. It was a pretty shocking decision when Yoka had his hand raised as the winner.

That’s impressive for Joyce to possibly getting a world title shot by his 7th fight of his career. He’s being moved along like 2-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. For guys like Joyce, you have to move him fast. It’s a waste of time to shovel 3rd tier fodder into the ring with him, as if it’s going to teach him anything. There are too many fighters that are coddled during their physical prime. By the time the guys are finally matched against quality fighters, they’ve already wasted 6 to 9 years. Look at Kell Brook as an example of that. He was a pro for 10 years before he finally started fighting good opposition. It was a real waste of his potential.

It’s unclear who Joyce will fight for the commonwealth heavyweight title once he gets past Lewison. It would be good if Joyce could fight Whyte or Dereck Chisora, but I doubt that the promoters for either of those heavyweights will want to risk putting them in with him. Whyte doesn’t have much punching power, and he gasses out easily when he’s forced to fight hard. Chisora seems to be on the downside of his career, and he gasses out as well. He lost his last fight to Whyte on December 10 by a 12 round split decision in a fight that many people in the boxing world felt Chisora deserved to win.

A big knockout win over Lewison will be Joyce’s coming out party for the heavyweight division. It’ll show a lot of the top fighters that there is a new kid in town in the division. It’s going to be tough for them to deal with this kind of heavyweight.

Joyce is a big time pressure fighter in the Mike Tyson mold, but he throws a lot of body shots while steaming forward. It’s a hard style to deal with. The only guy in the heavyweight division that I believe has any chance against Joyce is Deontay Wilder, and that’s only because he’s able to move. I still have doubts whether Wilder would be able to move enough to evade the pressure from Joyce.

Joshua would be made to order for Joyce, considering that he’s immobile and he tends to come straight at his opponents. I could see Joyce knocking out Joshua in 2 or 3 rounds after causing him to gas out from the fast pace. I don’t know if Hearn will want to put Joshua back in with Joyce if he gets stopped by him. One loss to Joyce would be bad enough for Joshua’s boxing career, but 2 losses would pretty much hurt his PPV viability. Hopefully, Joshua doesn’t mind face Joyce in 2018. It would be a pity if he wants to drag out the fight for 3 to 5 years to let it marinate the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. did with his fight against Manny Pacquiao.


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