By Jake Tiernan: Joe Joyce will be in action on April 15th against an opponent yet to be announced, according to his promoter Frank Warren.
The opponent will be announced this week for the unbeaten Joyce’s first defense of his interim WBO heavyweight title. They’re waiting for the contract back from the opponent. Hopefully, Joyce will be matched against a high-caliber contender rather than another older heavyweight.
The #1 WBO-ranked Joyce will be headlining at the Copper Box Arena in London. It would be nice to see Joyce fighting at a bigger venue than the 6,000-seat Copper Box, but Joyce hasn’t reached the level of popularity where he can pack a stadium the way Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are doing.
Although Tyson Fury had talked of wanting to face Joyce (15-0, 14 KOs) in the summer after he fights Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed clash in April, he seems to have changed his mind and will likely be going the exhibition route against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou to get some coin.
At this point in his career, the 34-year-old Fury is thinking more about money and less about taking on dangerous lions like Joyce that could overturn the applecart and ruin his money-making machine.
“Joe will fight on April 15th at the Copperbox. He’ll defend his [WBO interim heavyweight] title,” said Frank Warren to iFL TV about Joe Joyce’s next fight.
“You certainly well, as soon as we get the contract back. Obviously, we’ll have a press conference and get it up and rolling,” Warren said when asked if Joyce’s opponent will be revealed this week.
Joyce, 37, is coming off an 11th round stoppage victory over former WBO champion Joseph Parker on September 24th in Manchester. That was a competitive fight in the early going before Joyce wore the 31-year-old Parker down with the fast pace and the heavy shots he was landing to the head and body.
Interestingly, Parker recently said that he’d be willing to take a rematch with Joyce if he needs an opponent for his next fight.
The fights that Joyce wants are against WBC belt holder Fury and former two-division world champion Joshua, but it doesn’t appear likely that either of them will happen in 2023.
If Fury defeats Usyk in April to become the undisputed champion, he’s expected to vacate the WBO title so he can maneuver around what would be a very, very hard fight for him against Joyce.