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Joe Joyce vs. Bryant Jennings on July 13 in London, UK


By Charles Brun: Joe Joyce will be taking a step up in class on July 13 in taking on former heavyweight title challenger Bryant Jennings (24-3, 14 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England. It’s unknown at this time how many rounds the Joyce vs. Jennings fight will be.

It’s likely that it’ll be a 12 round fight. It doesn’t matter though, as this fight is going to end up with one of these two getting knocked out.

Joyce vs. Jennings is the co-feature bout on the Daniel Dubois vs. Nathan Gorman card. Joyce wanted to fight Dubois, but that’s not happening. It’s unclear whether that match will happen anytime soon. The hard hitting Joyce wants the fight with Dubois.

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) will be looking to add another notable name to his resume in 34-year-old Jennings. It’s hard to believe that Joyce, 33, is almost the same age as Jennings, because the two fighters are going in opposite directions with their careers.

Jennings got knocked out in the 12th round by Oscar Rivas last January in Verona, New York. That fight ended a five-fight winning streak for Jennings that he’d had since he started his comeback in 2017.

Joyce is being moved quickly with his career due to his long amateur background in the UK. Joyce took his time before turning pro in 2017. In hindsight, Joyce probably should have turned pro six years ago in 2013, because he spent too much time in the amateur ranks.

Had Joyce done that, then he would have missed out in competing in the 2016 Olympics. He came close to winning an Olympic gold medal. A lot of people felt that Joyce did enough to defeat France’s Tony Yoka in the Olympic final that year, but it wasn’t to be.

Joe Joyce wants world title shot in 2019

If everything goes as planned, the 6’6″ Joyce will be challenging for a world title in 2019. That’s what he wants, but it’s not likely to happen. Heavyweight world champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua have other fighters that they’re planning on taking. Moreover, Joyce is too dangerous for either of those belt holders to give him a voluntary title shot.

In Joyce’s last fight, he knocked out Alexander Ustinov on May 18 at the Lamex Stadium, in Stevenage, England. Joyce vs. Ustinov took place on the undercard of the super middleweight fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi.

“This should be my toughest fight to date,” Joyce said. “Bryant Jennings has been in very big fights and he gave Wladimir Klitschko a tough night before he fought Tyson Fury.”

Jennings lost to former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko five years ago by a competitive 12 round unanimous decision on April 25, 2014. Wladimir was already showing signs at that point in his career of being a shot fighter. Wladimir couldn’t hit Jennings with his power shots at all in that fight. He missed frequently in trying to nail Jennings, who was right there in front of him the entire fight. The only punches that Wladimir was able to land with any consistently was his jabs. His footwork was spot on, and that prevented Jennings from being able to walk him down to land his punches. In Jennings’ next fight after the loss to Wladimir, he was stopped in the seventh round by Luis Ortiz. The former Cuban amateur star Ortiz had too much talent for Jennings. Ortiz revealed afterwards that he had fought with the flu. Never the less, he put on a masterful performance in out-boxing Jennings through most of the fight before knocking him out in the seventh.

Joyce will need to show better speed to beat Jennings

In Joyce’s last fight against Ustinov, he looked slow of hand, and easy to hit. Ustinov landed some big shots in the first round to the head of Joyce. Ustinov inexplicably gassed out after the first round, and this enabled Joyce to take over the fight and score a stoppage in the third round. Jennings has a good chance of pulling off the upset in this fight if he fights with aggression, and take the fight with Joyce. Bryant has got to be the aggressor in this fight, because Joyce fights better when he’s the one coming forward looking to and his shots.

Jennings is showing a lot of courage in taking on Jennings, because not a lot of the other top heavyweights want to face him. One fighter that does want to face Joyce is 2016 Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist Hrgovic. His promoter Eddie Hearn wanted him to fight Joyce.

“I respect Bryant for stepping up and taking this fight,” Joyce said. “I intend to send a statement to the heavyweight division on July 13th and it won’t be long before I get my hands on those big titles.”

This is the wrong opponent for Joyce to be making a statement to the rest of the heavyweight division. Jennings is a fringe contender, and he’s not done enough in recent years in his career for Joyce to accomplish anything. To really make a statement, Joyce needs to defeat heavyweights like Dillian Whyte, Hrgovic, Kubrat Pulev, or Tyson Fury. It’s not going to be easy for Joyce to get a fight against any of those fighters.

Jennings comes into this fight with important wins in the past against the likes of Mike Perez and Artur Szpilka. He also has wins over Alexander Dimitrenko and Andrey Fedosov.

“I don’t mind the test. I don’t mind the challenge. That’s just who I am,” Jennings said. “I am ready to go now. After this, I’m coming after all the other UK heavyweights. They are the ones running the division.”

A victory for Jennings over Joyce will surely open up opportunities for him.

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