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Joe Joyce vs. Tom Little on Dec.17

David Haye Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (1-0, 1 KOs) will be back inside the ring next month on December 17 for his second pro fight against Tom Little (10-4, 3 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight on the undercard of the heavyweight rematch between David Haye and Tony Bellew at the O2 Arena in London, England.

2016 Olympic Silver medalist Joyce defeated Ian Lewison by an 8th round knockout in his pro debut last month on October 20 at the Indigo at The O2 in London. Lewison looked badly out of shape at 267 pounds, and in no real condition to put up a fight in the contest.

Joyce was mostly using his left hand against Lewison. Joyce’s right hand was rarely used in the fight, as if he either hand an injury or no confidence is employing that hand. That’s something that Joyce is going to need to change. He won’t go far in the heavyweight division if all he has is a jab and a left hook. He’s got to be able to throw right hands with power for him to beat the likes of Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.

Little, 30, was beaten by Domini Akinlade by a 10-round points decision last year on August 6. Little also has past losses to Dorian Darch, Brian Minto and Tom Dallas.

There’s also talk of Joyce fighting on February 16 against a still to be determined opponent at the O2 Arena. This is part of keeping Joyce as active as possible, as he’s being pushed fast with his career to the top due to his Olympic experience and his advanced age.

The 32-year-old Joyce can’t be brought along slowly like most heavyweight prospects because he’s not young enough for the incremental approach. Besides, it’s a waste of time in many cases for fighters to be matched against poor opposition for 6-10 years before they finally start fighting good opposition. Kell Brook is a perfect example for that. He fought dreadful opposition for the first 10 years of his career before he finally was put in with good opponents. It was such a waste of his career. Now after a small handful of years at the top, Brook is breaking down physically.

Besides Joyce vs. Little, super middleweight contender Rocky Fielding (25-1, 14 KOs) will be battling he recently beaten Erik Skoglund (26-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBC Silver 168 lb. strap. Skoglund, 26, lost his last fight to Callum Smith by a 12 round unanimous decision in the World Boxing Super Series tournament on September 16th at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Skoglund did not look impressive in getting beaten by the scores 116-112, 117-110 and 117-111. Smith didn’t look good either, but he was clearly the better fighter of the two.

The 30-year-old Fielding has won his last 4 fights since getting stopped in the 1st round by Callum Smith on November 7, 2015. Fielding got caught cold and blasted out by Smith in getting dropped 3 times in the contest. Since then, Fielding has beaten Christopher Rebrasse, Istvan Zeller, John Ryder and David Brophy.

Fielding is ranked #9 WBC, #6 WBA and #12 WBO. If Fielding can beat Skoglund to win the vacant World Boxing Council Silver super middleweight title, it’ll push him up the WBC’s rankings to get him nearer to the top. It’s still unlikely that Fielding will take the No.1 position in the WBC’s rankings at 168, but it’s probable that he can get to the top 3.

“Skoglund has just come out of the Super Series and they are all classed as world class fighters,” said Fielding to the “So, I am up against a world class operator and whoever wins can go on to fight for a world title next. He boxed well against Callum. He’s got a good jab and his movement was good. People had doubts about the weight for him dropping down from light-heavyweight, but it didn’t look a problem. He’s got a good boxing brain and I know that this is going to be a really tough fight.”

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