Ahead of his rematch with Zhilei Zhang tomorrow night, brand ambassador Joe Joyce sat down exclusively with online sportsbook BetVictor to share his thoughts on the upcoming bout. Watch the fight card live on ESPN+ (5 pm ET) & TNT Sports in UK.
In the interview, Joyce opens up on the lessons he’s learned from the defeat back in April, how he plans to celebrate if he wins and how he is dealing with the pressure of facing Zhang with the WBO interim title on the line.
BetVictor: Was the press conference the first time you’ve seen Zhang since fight night?
Joe Joyce: Yeah, it’s the first time I have seen him since the last fight. During the build-up last time there was an open workout and some more media things where he came to my training camp, there’s been none of that this time round. It’s just pure work. Business as usual.
BetVictor: And be honest were you there to kind of eye him up a bit, to our untrained eye he looked a bit lighter than perhaps we thought he would be?
Joe Joyce: Yeah, I think within the training that he’s done, he’s probably worked on things based on what he saw as his weaknesses in the last camp, he seems to be training harder so it’s going to be a hard fight.
BetVictor: It will be interesting to see if there will be a reversal this time around at the weigh-in, you’re a little bit heavier than when we saw you last time.
Joe Joyce: Yeah, I’m a bit heavier now and I have had a lot more time in the gym practising to get the southpaw stance, so I’m in a better place mentally and physically and I’m ready to do a job this time around.
BetVictor: That came across in the press conference your more relaxed nature, happy to crack a joke or two like that. Do you think that’s a good representation as you head into this fight, that you are in a good place mentally and that you feel relaxed? As much as business is important, do you also think it’s important that you enjoy the occasion?
Joe Joyce: Yeah, I’ll enjoy it afterwards when I beat him! But I’ve got to go in there and trade punches with him, so it’s going to be tough. What I’m looking forward to doing, once I’ve won, is watching it back to see how well I did. It’s exciting, it’s an adrenaline-filled sport with lots of pressure and the support of everyone watching so it’s something to look forward to. But I’m glad when it’s over and I’m back at the hotel watching it over and celebrating.
BetVictor: There’s a big crowd expected and it’s on TNT, so it’s going to have a load of people watching. There was a lot of conversation in the media about who’s going to win and what they could potentially go on to do. Does that add a bit of pressure to yourself when you’re having to hear those sorts of things when you probably want to focus on the task at hand?
Joe Joyce: In the previous fight, I kind of got caught up with the media hype a bit more. This time I’m a lot more focused and dedicated to what I’m doing. I’ve got my eyes locked on Zhang and beating him, getting the W by any means possible.
BetVictor: We saw you a couple of weeks ago in the gym obviously since then you’ve been working hard, is it a case that everything else in life is shut off now for this period? The sole focus is this camp, no days off kind of thing.
Joe Joyce: It’s nice now I’ve got the time to have a few days off before fight night to recover so I can explode on the night so I can do my thing in the ring.
BetVictor: Let us into a couple of secrets, after the weigh-in tomorrow what are you going to do? Are you going to try and do something to take you away from the fight? Are you going to be adding some finishing touches or will you be like ‘that’s it I’m ready’?
Joe Joyce: So after the weigh-in, I’ll probably get some food in, then rest and relax in my room. At night I may watch some video footage of Zhang and critiquing it with Salas making sure I have got the tactics on point making sure any nuances are noted.
BetVictor: You’ve got the opportunity for redemption, not many boxers get that chance. Is that the big driving force to overturn that frustration from the last fight?
Joe Joyce: Yeah it was a hard pill to swallow especially losing like that. Being interim I couldn’t get any closer to a world title and I needed to wait around for my shot, but I decided to have fight a tough southpaw in Zhang and I paid the price there. But it’s about redemption and getting back to what I was and back into the position I was in to continue to try and fight for world titles.
BetVictor: If you could select one person to be sat ringside with you, who would be the one person that you choose?
Joe Joyce: I’d quite like Mike Tyson actually. I saw him in Vegas and he has spoken quite highly of me. He’s also now training with Ngannou, so he would be a good person to have.
BetVictor: Don’t you perhaps fancy having Usyk beside you keeping an eye on things?
Joe Joyce: Probably not because he’d be working out his tactics for the next fight!