Joe Joyce has said his experience will help him outsmart big-punching Daniel Dubois in their all-English heavyweight fight on Saturday.
Joyce, 35, is 12 years older than his London rival and turned professional after a distinguished amateur career which included winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Joyce will meet Dubois in a classic clash of youth vs. experience for the British, Commonwealth, vacant European and WBC Silver heavyweight titles at Church House, a conference centre in central London and will be shown live on BT Sport in the UK and ESPN+ in the U.S..
“Dubois has got a similar knockout record to me, he has been knocking everyone out, he has had a few more fights against weaker opponents and not fought the same level as I have,” Joyce told ESPN.
“But he is a massive puncher and I’m going to be ready for the challenge. I have got a lot more strings to my bow than he has, and as long as I don’t get knocked out in three or four rounds, my experience should count.”
Joyce, who has a university degree in fine art, believes his boxing IQ will be the difference.
“He is a powerhouse, a unit, but he hasn’t got that mental ability and experience that I have. He went to the Youth Olympics, but I went to the real Olympics. He didn’t do it as a senior and apart from beating Nathan Gorman, he has not fought anyone as a pro. Gorman was his best win, but Gorman wasn’t himself.”
Both unbeaten contenders have left a trail of destruction behind them in their professional careers and have only been taken to points once each as they move closer to world title contention.
Daniel Dubois views his upcoming fight with Joe Joyce as a world title clash. Watch Dubois vs. Joyce on November 28th on ESPN+.
The bookmakers favour Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs), but Joyce boldly predicts a knockout.
“I can definitely outpoint him, I throw more punches, but I have a feeling I’m going to knock him out earlier than people expect,” Joyce said.
“He’s been used to knocking people out, coming forward and knocking them out in a few rounds. This time it will be different.”
Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs), from Putney, had been training with Cuban coach Ismael Salas in Las Vegas earlier this year, but due to circumstances around the pandemic he has been working with Steve Broughton for most of this year back in England.
Joyce has kept in contact with Salas, who has previously worked with former world champions David Haye, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jorge Linares.
While in the U.S. with Salas earlier this year, Joyce sparred with UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou.
“It was really useful, he’s got a stand-up stance and did boxing before MMA, he’s really strong and has similar dimensions to Dubois,” Joyce said.
Due to the pandemic shutting down boxing earlier this year, this fight has been put back from April, July, and October and will take place without spectators due to UK government guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Promoter Frank Warren told ESPN: “They wouldn’t let me put it back again to next year to see if we can get fans, they wanted the money that was available and wanted to fight now.”
Both have been limited to one fight this year, and early finishes in warm-up bouts last summer.
Dubois, from Greenwich, was encouraged by what he saw in Joyce’s three-round win over Michael Wallisch in July.
“Joyce got caught quite a bit in his last fight, he’s maybe slowed down a bit with age and right now is the right time for me to fight him and take him out,” Dubois said.
“I don’t really look at what he does or doesn’t do. It is about what I do and hopefully my mind will be sharp on the night and react to what ever he does. In the last year I’ve not had too many fights so I’m looking forward to showing what things I’ve improved.”
Dubois is already No.2 with the WBO and No.7 with the WBC world governing bodies respectively in a heavyweight division dominated by British boxers.
English rivals Tyson Fury (WBC) and Anthony Joshua (WBA, IBF, WBO) hold all the world titles between them and are talking about facing each other next year.
The winner of Dubois-Joyce will join those most likely to challenge for a world title in 2021 while becoming well-known in the shadow of London’s familiar landmarks.
“I might be knocking on the door by then [Fury vs. Joshua],” Dubois told ESPN.
“If I beat Joe it will clear the path but it might not be them who has the WBO title. Whoever has got the belts I will fight them. I believe I will be for it [a world title shot] next year. I would definitely be ready to fight Oleksandr Usyk next year for the title if need be.”
“It’s quite early on in our careers but why not take it? There are about seven titles on the line so it will keep me in a good place,” Joyce said.
“If the world titles become vacant, it would make things intriguing next year and give a few of the contenders a chance.”