Joe Joyce Open to Potential Showdown with Former Teammate Anthony Joshua
Joe Joyce has welcomed former GB teammate Anthony Joshua’s mention of his name as a potential future opponent, once his return fight against Jermaine Franklin has been settled on Saturday night. Joyce, who holds the WBO Interim world championship, is set to take on Chinese giant Zhilei 'Big Bang' Zhang at the Copper Box Arena on April 15.
“I like the Joe Joyce fight, it’s one that interests the people and Joe Joyce is from the same country as me, so it makes sense,” Joshua said during his media activities ahead of his return to the ring this weekend.
Fighting Joyce would offer Joshua a route back towards world title contention, and the potential for a direct shot at the full championship. However, Joyce is not convinced that Joshua is truly interested in facing him in the near future.
“I thought he might have thrown his phone in the Hudson river after he lost in New York and stopped replying to my messages,” Joyce commented to the Sun. “I have a proper fight in two weeks against someone that he didn’t want that smoke with and backed away from - a fellow 6ft 6in Olympic silver winner. He’s fighting someone without that pedigree, who again looks about a foot shorter than him."
Joyce is referencing Joshua’s infamous defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, where Joyce claims that Joshua backed away from a potential bout between the two. He also notes that Joshua has opted to face Jermaine Franklin instead of his former sparring partner and fellow Olympic medalist, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Alexander Povetkin in their last bout.
“I saw AJ and Eddie (Hearn) promise that the winner of Franklin and Whyte last November was going to get this AJ fight and they’ve gone with the geezer who lost! I would love that fight in the summer. Two of the best in the UK going at it. The winner fights Tyson Fury! But I’m just not sure he really wants it. It’s an easy fight to make - my management and his management know each other well; and I would imagine Frank and Eddie and BT/DAZN would combine on it no problem. British boxing needs these fights - no more messing around.”
Joyce’s skepticism of Joshua’s intentions is palpable, but the potential for a high-profile showdown between the two remains intriguing. Joyce and Zhang will go toe-to-toe on April 15, while Joshua will face off against Franklin on April 9. The future of British heavyweight boxing could very well be decided in the coming months, and fight fans will be eagerly anticipating the next moves of these top contenders.