Exclusive - Joe Joyce open to Deontay Wilder fight after Las Vegas close encounter

Joe Joyce speaks to BT Sport after his stunning win over Joseph Parker on Saturday night, lifting the lid on a recent encounter with the former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.

By George Mills Published: 28 September 2022 - 3.24pm

Joe Joyce has arrived.

The British heavyweight contender produced the best performance of his career to send a statement to the rest of the division by delivering a sensational 11th round knockout of former WBO champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday.

It was a watershed moment for the 37-year-old Olympic silver medallist who previously had been regarded by many as a decent but limited contender compared to those who rule the division currently.

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But in the aftermath of an impressive demolition job on the teak-tough Parker, who was stopped for the first time in his career as either amateur or professional, Joyce's stock has risen dramatically among fight fans across the world.

Now the interim WBO heavyweight champion, Joyce has all but secured himself a shot at a world title next following a thrilling showdown against Parker at a boisterous AO Arena. 

“I hit him with everything and he'd come back with two or three quick shots”
- Joe Joyce

"I thought it was going to be tricky and a hard fight - and it definitely was that!" Joyce told BTSport.com, reflecting on the fight during a chat over Zoom this week.

"I predicted I was going to stop him in seven or eight rounds and it was almost there but then he showed his toughness and resilience to carry on. After that, I thought it might go the full 12 rounds. But it was a brilliant fight, I enjoyed it. It was tough, I had to dig deep in there after I thought it might go the distance.

"I hit him with everything and then he would come back with like two or three quick shots. I was like 'where is this coming from? He's still in the fight!' But respect to him, he's a warrior."

It was an even contest through the opening few rounds with Parker looking to stay mobile and slow down the ever-advancing Joyce with combinations to the body.

But Joyce gradually wore down Parker over the course of what turned out to be a gruelling contest for the two combatants, with both displaying grit, heart and durability in spades.

In the end, Joyce made sure of the victory with a stunning highlight-reel finish, finding a home for a clubbing left hook on the top of Parker's head that sent the scrambled 30-year-old toppling to the mat.

"I wasn't surprised he finally went down, I put my full bodyweight into that left hook that knocked him out," Joyce landed.

"It landed nicely, I followed through with it and it was a great shot."

Joyce surprised many inside the AO Arena by looking to make a quick start to the fight, pushing the pace and dictating the tempo from early on as he hunted a career-heaviest Parker down while peppering body and head.

15-0 (14 KOs)
Joe Joyce's record

"Part of the game plan was working the body because although he can slip and move to get out of the way of the punches, he's also such a tough guy and can take a good shot," Joyce continued. 

"So I was thinking about going to the body to take him out like that too. I knew it was going to be a long, gruelling fight and it was important to stay on top of him because we didn't want him nicking rounds throughout the fight which I why I tried to win every round. 

"That's why there was such a push. I threw so many punches that fight. I threw something like 100 punches a round on average!"

Joyce has always been renowned for his superhuman-like durability and relentless cardio - but the former Team GB star elevated his reputation to new levels after an awesome display on Saturday night.

Despite his advancing years, Joyce's incredible physical attributes and abilities remain his best weapons; one fitness coach who has previously worked alongside Joyce recently described his conditioning as akin to a young bantamweight.

And that is no accident, Joyce explained, as he revealed the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in order to remain at the top of his game.

"I train hard and train smart, that's the thing," he said.

"Especially now I'm getting on a bit I like to have the best training. There's a method to the madness in how to get the best out of me. The engine I have built over the years has stand me in good stead. 

“Tyson Fury is next on my list after Oleksandr Usyk”
- Joe Joyce

"I was already a good level athlete when I started boxing so I had half the work done. It's just been about doing my 10,000 hours over 10 years to reach sporting excellence but I've surpassed that 10 years now. But I'm still learning new things and improving to build up my arsenal of shots."

But what comes next for Joyce?

A myriad of options look to have opened up for the former Olympic silver medallist with match-ups against any of the other top five heavyweights a mouthwatering prospect.

"I want that world title shot against Oleksandr Usyk but Tyson Fury is next on the list," Joyce explained.

"He's just put out that Anthony Joshua ran out of time to agree a fight on Monday but it takes a long time to make these fights. I'd be willing to fight him. I'd be willing to fight whoever. The top five names, I'd fight any one of them."

But on a BT Sport social media poll this week, it was the former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder who came out on top as the man most boxing fans want to see Joyce in with next.

That contest would pit the hardest puncher in the division against arguably the best chin in boxing - but Joyce suggested he would be open to the idea, revealing he had met Wilder earlier this year while training for the Parker fight.

"Deontay Wilder would be a tough fight - I'd have to try and not get nailed by that right hand!" Joyce joked. 

"But he's also been picking up a lot of things from Malik Scott, they've been doing good work. I've seen him in the UFC facility when I was training out in Las Vegas and spoke to him and his trainer. 

"That would be an interesting fight but at the moment I'm the interim WBO champion so Usyk is the main guy I want to fight. 

"But if he doesn't want to defend his belt, I will get elevated to be the champion and I'll get voluntaries to defend it. But I want to be in good fights so whatever fights people want to see, I'd be willing to do."