Joe Joyce vs. Ivica Bacurin – Results
By Tim Royner: Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (5-0, 5 KOs) registered his fifth pro victory on Friday night in stopping replacement opponent Ivica Bacurin (30-14-1, 19 KOs) in the 1st round of a scheduled 10 round fight at York Hall at Bethnal Green in London, UK.
2016 Olympic silver medalist Joyce, 32, flattened Croatian Bacurin with a left hook the head. Bacurin then held the back of his head as if he’d been nailed with a rabbit punch. In instant replay, the left hook from Joyce hit Bacurin in the face, not the back of the head. Bacurin looked like he didn’t want to continue to fight.
Bacurin didn’t seem to want to fight tonight, because the punch that hit him didn’t look all that powerful and it definitely didn’t hit him on the back of his head. Bacurin has been in the ring with big punchers in the past and not folded the way he did tonight. Bacurin, 35, lasted 6 rounds against Dillian Whyte before getting stopped in 2016, and he lasted seven rounds against Dmitry Kudrashov in 2014.
At the start of the fight, Joyce plodded forward, crouching and moving his torso from side to side to dodge punches that never came. Joyce connected with a couple of right hands that got Bacurin’s attention, sending him on the move. Finally, Joyce landed a left hook that dropped Bacurin. Instead of getting back to his feet, Bacurin stayed down and held the back of his head. When the referee started counting, Bacurin should have figured out that he wasn’t going to penalize Joyce or give him a break to collect himself. It looked like Bacurin was assuming that he would be given a timeout to recover, and that wasn’t going to happen because the punch was a legal blow.
After the fight was stopped, the 6’6” Joyce cartwheeled around the ring in victory in celebration. The boxing fans at ringside then booed loudly, unhappy with Joyce celebrating such a horrible fight. It’s not Joyce’s fight that Bacurin went down after he landed a left hook, but the fight probably shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Joyce’s promoters need to push him because he’s 32-years-old. Joyce can’t afford to fight lower level guys like this. He’s not young enough to fight these kinds of opponents because it’ll eat up his career.
Joyce looked very slow in terms of his hand speed. As slow as Joyce looked tonight, he’s going to have problems when he faces the better heavyweights in the division. The worst thing that could happen to Joyce is if he faces one of the top contenders like Dillian Whyte or Jarrell Miller. Those guys might beat him, and that would ruin his chances of getting a big payday against IBF/WBC/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. If Joyce can get a title shot against Wilder or Joyce without ever having to fight anyone good, it would be ideal for him.