Joe Joyce was honored at the annual WBO Convention with the official presentation of his interim heavyweight title.
It was the honor bestowed upon unified WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO champ Oleksandr Usyk, however, that served as greater motivation for what lies ahead.
The pair of unbeaten heavyweights were on site for the 35th annual WBO Convention, which kicked off Tuesday morning in San Juan, Puerto Rico. London’s Joyce (15-0, 14KOs) was presented with the interim WBO title he claimed in an eleventh-round knockout of Joseph Parker on September 24 in Manchester, England. The win came one month after Usyk (20-0, 13KOs) scored a repeat win over Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Usyk—a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former undisputed cruiserweight king—outpointed England’s Joshua last September in North London to claim the WBA/IBF/WBO titles and become a two-division champ. With his heavyweight success came the honor of being named the WBO Male Fighter of the Year at this year’s convention, an honor met by congratulations from Joyce along with a message.
“It motivates me to kick his ass next,” Joyce told WBO podcast host Claudia Trejos. “I’m coming for the titles. Brilliance to Usyk. It was a really dominant performance, a great performance. He deserves it. Good for him.
“I haven’t seen him face to face in quite a long time. It will be good to see him. I look forward to making that fight and seeing how all this plays out.”
Joyce—a 2016 Olympic Silver medalist—is now one of three mandatory challengers waiting for a shot at Ukraine’s Usyk. He was the number-one contender prior to Usyk’s rematch with Joshua, armed with the promise of next facing the winner though with one possible exception.
All four sanctioning bodies are on board with Usyk potentially meeting lineal/WBC champ Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23KOs) in an undisputed heavyweight championship clash. Such a bout wouldn’t come until the first half of 2023 at the earliest, with Manchester’s Fury first due to face Derek Chisora in a voluntary title defense and trilogy clash with his countryman on December 3 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
Ideally, Joyce would love to get to Usyk beforehand.
“I’m the WBO interim. If he’s going to be fighting with Fury, then that means I will be elevated to full champion,” explained Joyce, who dropped a five-round decision to Usyk in a March 2013 World Series of Boxing match. “From there, I can challenge whoever. I would love to do that rematch. It’s a great fight, I think I will beat his ass.”
“This was the super-heavyweight division and each and every punch matters.
“I delivered a very good punch accurately and with good timing and it ended the fight.”
Kuzmin would love to run into Joyce in the professional ranks, although he wouldn’t take too much from their 2013 clash.
The European Championships silver medallist said: “If the fight happens we will see.