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Joe Joyce: I punched Stiverne’s dreadlocks clean off

Image: Joe Joyce: I punched Stiverne's dreadlocks clean off

By Scott Gilfoid: Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce said he worked over former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne in a recent sparring session between the two of them. Joyce says Stiverne, 38, was like a walking punching bag, and that he’d knocked his dreadlocks “clean off” during the session. Joyce says he basically punched Stiverne up for 12 rounds.

Joyce faces Ian Lewison (12-3-1, 8 KOs) this Friday night at the Indigo at the O2 in London, England. Joyce, 32, is being put on the fast track with his pro career to get him a world heavyweight title shot within a year if everything goes right.

Lewison is someone that you would expect a more experienced heavyweight with more fights under his belt to be facing. Dillian Whyte recently fought Lewison last October after 5 years as a pro. The 6’6” Joyce is facing Lewison in his first fight.

“Just based on the caliber of what I’ve been sparring with and my experience, I feel like I’ve got the tools to do the job on Lewison come Friday the 20th,” said Joyce to IFL TV. “I enjoy a challenge, and it’ll be good to beat him, and will be even better because he’s had so long to prepare. It should be a good fight,” said Joyce.

It took Whyte 10 rounds to stop Lewison. It was a pretty competitive fight. Whyte didn’t dominate entirely, and he had to take some big shots from Lewison along the way. It was more of a case of Lewison getting tired, and then Whyte taking over the fight and pounding Lewison until he got a stoppage. The 6’3” Whyte doesn’t have nearly the same height, reach and punching power of Joyce. The two of them fight entirely different. It should be interesting to see how Joyce does against Lewison in comparison to how Whyte dealt with the same fighter.

“I thought he was alright until he did the interview saying he schooled me,” said Joyce about Bermane Stiverne. “So, basically I punched him up for what was it, 12 rounds? I punched his dreadlocks clean off. It was a bit like a walking heavy bag, to be honest. I did some good rounds with some good target practice. [Initially] I gave him respect. He was a bit moody in the gym. I know he’s got his fight with Deontay Wilder. We’ll see how he does there. Wilder is just going to throw some wild bomb [and stop Stiverne]. You know what? He’s very durable,” said Joyce in talking about Stiverne. “So it could go a long ways until he [Wilder] lands a big one,” said Joyce.

Wow, Joyce is really unloading on Stiverne by talking about the sparring session. The two must not like each other for him to expose him like that. Stiverne is a lot shorter than Joyce at 6’2”, and he doesn’t have the arm length.

In response to IFL TV interviewer Kugan Cassas saying that Wilder beat Stiverne within an inch of his life in their previous fight in 2015, Joyce laughingly said, “I did as well.”
“I’m definitely making a statement,” said Joyce about his fight with Lewison.“Who else has a 10 round main event debut.”

For Joyce to make a statement on Friday, he’s going to need to get Lewison out of there before the 10th round. If Joyce only equals what Whyte did in stopping him in the 10th, it won’t be a big deal. We’ve already seen Whyte do the job on Lewison. The 29-year-old Whyte is younger than Joyce, but he seems older for some reason. I’m not just talking about Whyte being more experienced. I mean, Whyte looks older than Joyce. I’d like to see Joyce face Whyte with the winner getting a title shot against Wilder. I don’t think Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn would go for the idea of putting Whyte in with Joyce. It would be too high risk for him. Hearn is trying to get Whyte a crack at Wilder in early 2018.

If Whyte were to fight Joshua, it might go really badly for him. The boxing public in the UK would like to see how well Whyte does against Joyce, but I don’t think Hearn would go for that idea of letting him take that fight. Hearn is using Whyte like a chess piece in positioning him in front of Wilder to make him earn a fight against Anthony Joshua. I think that’s what the general idea is that Hearn has for Whyte.

Part of me sees Hearn using Whyte as a guardian to protect Joshua from the threat of Wilder. If Whyte can beat Wilder, then there’s no more threat from the 6’7” Bronze Bomber for Joshua, who is like a human money machine right now. Joshua is producing money like he’s a 6’6” human money press. I get the impression that Hearn doesn’t want anything or anyone to get in the way of Joshua continuing to make green stuff for him and his Matchroom Sport stable. As such, Hearn is now insisting that Wilder face Whyte in early 2018 instead of the Joshua-Wilder fight being made. Someone like Joyce could really mess up Hearn’s plans if he were to fight Whyte, because I honestly think Joyce would knock him out quickly if that fight were made.

“Yeah, I sparred his last opponent, and he was good,” said Joyce about his sparring with 2016 Olympic gold medalist Tony Yokas’s last opponent Jonathan Rice. “I’m down to amend that defeat in time. I’m just looking forward to that moment,” said Joyce.

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