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Bryant Jennings cleared to face Joe Joyce Saturday

Image: Bryant Jennings cleared to face Joe Joyce Saturday

By Trevor McIntyre: Former heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings has been medically cleared to fight 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England (live on ESPN+ in the US).

Before today, Jennings (23-4, 14 KOs) hadn’t been cleared medically to fight. There was some worry there for a second, but everything is set for Jennings and Joyce to do battle in a 50-50 affair.

‘The Juggernault’ Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) will be defending his World Boxing Association gold heavyweight against the 34-year-old Jennings. The fight will be shown on BT Sport in the UK, and ESPN+ in the U.S.  This is an important fight for Joyce, 33, because he’s coming off of a big third round knockout win over Alexander Ustinov last May, and he has plans on fighting for a world title inside the next 12 rounds. It’s important that Joyce’s promoters at Ringstar Sports gets him a title shot soon, because he’s up there in age already. He’s not young enough to be brought along slowly like the promoters do with typical fighters.

Jennings expects Joyce to try and overpower him

“This is the biggest test,” said Jennings to Fighthype about Joyce. “Pretty much come forward, and overpower type of thing,” said Jennings about what he expects from Joyce. “He’s not so fast. It’s a typical big guy. His whole thing is to overpower. I don’t think a lot of times he has an actual game plan. But then again at this level, his choice of opponents, he might not have needed such a game plan. But you have to implement game plans as you go along when you fight typical fighters that do things great,” said Jennings.

Jennings is being brought in as the B-side opponent for Joyce to look good against, and pick up a victory over a guy that the hardcore boxing fans are familiar with. This is Jennings’ chance to prove that Joyce’s management misjudged him in viewing this as a winnable fight for their guy. Jennings will be playing the roll of the spoiler in this fight, and it’ll be a big victory if he can pull off the upset.

Joyce will have big size advantage

Joyce, 6’6″, will have a three inch height, and at least a 30 pound weight advantage over the 6’3″ 230 pound Jennings on Saturday night. However, Jennings enjoy a three inch reach advantage, as well as the superior hand speed. Joyce hits harder, and his ability to walk though shots is perhaps his best advantage. He’s going to be plodding forward all night long against Jennings, looking to hit him with hard shots.

Jennings thinks Joyce’s only plan is to overpower him

“As far a myself, what are you going to do about the movement? How are you going to successfully cut the ring off,” said Jennings. “Keep moving to your right? There’s a lot of things guys don’t think about. ‘Oh, this guy is small.’ I’m 231 pounds right now. ‘This guy is small, so let me overpower him.’ So a lot of times, that’s not only the initial plan [to overpower], it’s the only weapon. So once you take away their weapons, and empty the clip, that’s when experience kicks in. That’s when actual training kicks in. That’s when it kicks in what your trainer has supposed to have taught you what you’re supposed to be doing. So this is going to be a big step up for him,” said Jennings about Joyce.

Joyce is ranked #14 with the World Boxing Council. The WBA has him as their Gold champion, so he’s not in their top 15 rankings. Since turning pro in 2017, Joyce has beaten the following fighters:

  • Ian Lewison
  • Rudolf Jozic
  • Donnie Palmer
  • Lenroy Thomas
  • Ivica Bacurin
  • Iago Kiladze
  • Joe Hanks
  • Bermane Stiverne
  • Alexander Ustinov

Joyce’s management wanted to put him in with Dereck Chisora, but they’ve had no luck in getting that match made.

On the same card on Saturday, Daniel Dubois faces Nathan Gorman for the vacant British heavyweight title. The winner of the fight could face the Joyce vs. Jennings winner.

Joe against Daniel or Nathan would be a tremendous all-British clash for the tail end of the year and a fight I would love to see,” said promoter Frank Warren. “After Saturday, the picture will be a lot clearer about what will be next for all four. One thing for sure, two of them will be in the world title picture.”

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