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Joe Joyce training alongside Gennady Golovkin


By Tim Royner: Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (5-0, 5 KOs) has started working with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California. Joyce, 32, and Sanchez would seem like a perfect team.

The 6’6” Joyce is a high pressure fighter with a great engine, and Sanchez is known for doing a great job developing those types of fighters. Joyce posted a photo of himself standing next to Golovkin on Wednesday on his Twitter account, saying ”This isn’t just any kind of show. This is a BIG DRAMA SHOW! Great to be training alongside GGG Boxing!”

Now it remains to be seen whether Sanchez can improve Joyce’s game enough for him to become a world champion. At this point the goal would be just to get Joyce rated high enough in the world rankings for him to be given a world title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua or WBC champion Deontay Wilder. With just five fights under his belt, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight Silver medalist Joyce needs to get some of the top contenders to face him in order to get rated in the upper reaches of the heavyweight pro rankings. Joyce has shown interest in fighting ‘Del Boy’ Dereck Chisora and Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, but neither of them has shown any interest in facing him.

The major flaw in Joyce’s game that trainer Abel Sanchez won’t be able to fix is his lack of hand speed. Joyce has slow hands, and he tends to be a little robotic at times. The best that Sanchez can do is work on Joyce’s punching power to make him a harder puncher, and help him smother his opponents better. One of the best things Joyce has going for him is his engine. He’s got great conditioning for a big man. We saw some of that in Joyce’s fight against cruiserweight Aleksander Usyk in 2013 in the World Series of Boxing. Although Joyce lost the fight to Usyk by a 5 round decision, he gave him major problems with his size, pressure and high work rate. Usyk looked completely exhausted at the end of the five-round fight, and it’s questionable whether he would have lasted a full 12 rounds with Joyce. Since then, Joyce has gotten more powerful and he looks heavier. Usyk would have a lot of problems with Joyce at this point of his career. Joyce’s stamina, size and strength would make him a real threat to the top contenders in the division.

Given Joyce’s age, he needs to be moved quickly for him to get a title shot before he gets too old to have a chance to win a world title. Unfortunately for Joyce, he doesn’t have a promoter that can throw big money at the heavyweight champions to give him a quick title shot the way we saw with Anthony Joshua’s promoter. Joyce was given a crack at the IBF title held by Charles Martin in 2016 after just three years as a pro. Did Joshua deserve a world title fight at the time? Probably not, but Hearn was able to lure Martin over to England to fight Joshua anyway by making it financially worth his while to come over and defend against him. Joyce has only been a pro for one year so if he’s to follow on the same patch as Joshua, he won’t be getting a world title fight until 2020. By that time, Joyce will be 34. That’s obviously not too old to win a world title, but it’s definitely getting up there.

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