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Eddie Hearn believes Joshua will easily beat Joe Joyce if they were to fight

Heavyweight challenger Joe Joyce is not expected to rise to the level of a "elite" fighter in the weight class, according to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joyce lost for the first time in his career on Saturday at the Copper Box in London when Zhilei Zhang of China stopped him in six rounds.

Joyce was repeatedly hit with left hands throughout the bout, which caused his right eye to close and ultimately resulted to the fight being stopped by the ringside doctor.

For his skill in using heavy blows to wear down his opponents, Joyce was well-known.

Due to the punishment Joyce has received throughout the years, Hearn could foresee Joyce quitting the sport.

Although Joyce has the option of facing Zhang right away, it's unclear if he will actually choose to do so.

“The reality is, Joe Joyce has never boxed an elite heavyweight. Zhilei Zhang is not an elite heavyweight. Joe wasn’t good enough to deal with Zhilei Zhang. When you sell your attributes based on 'you can hit me as hard as you like, and I’ll keep coming' – that’s not the recipe for longevity in a career…

“He gets hit by absolutely everything, Joe Joyce. I would understand if he retired from boxing. He’s taken unbelievable punishment in sparring, in amateur tournaments and even in the professional code and it was really uncomfortable watching that on Saturday. If you can’t beat Zhilei Zhang, you have absolutely no chance of winning a world heavyweight title, no chance. If Oleksandr Usyk had boxed Joyce on Saturday night it would’ve been one of the greatest mismatches of all time.

“If Zhilei Zhang is doing that to him, Usyk would have absolutely peppered him. The reality is Joe Joyce is not an elite heavyweight and you can talk about ‘Oh he’d steamroll Anthony Joshua’, do you know the speed of AJ compare to Zhang? AJ would ping him absolutely everywhere. Joe has got a massive decision now, because if he doesn’t rematch Zhang, he should retire.”


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