Joe Joyce has recalled what it was like being hit by Oleksandr Usyk when they fought in the amateur ranks.
The pair met in a fight at London’s York Hall back in 2013. The World Series of Boxing matchup was set over five rounds, and Usyk emerged as a clear points winner despite Joyce having some success.
Of course, a lot has changed since then. Both undefeated as professionals, the pair are coming dangerously close to lacing up and throwing down once more.
Although Usyk is tied up in negotiations with Tyson Fury for an undisputed fight, Joyce finds himself the mandatory challenger for one of the Ukrainian’s unified titles and will be waiting in the wings for his shot this year.
In an interview with Queensberry Promotions, Joyce spoke about his former opponent’s power, pointing out that it wasn’t the typical ‘thudding’ style of heavyweight striking.
“I remember when we fought it was like stinging power – it wasn’t thudding … I could feel the punches. You know like slaps, they’re more stinging? Yeah. Faster and more stinging. At the time. But I guess now he’s put on more size so they’ll be more thudding and he’s knocked out people.”
When asked about Usyk’s recent physique picture in relation to his heavyweight campaign to become undisputed, Joyce said that the Ukrainian was likely playing to his strengths.
“He looked trim, yeah. That’s good. He looks healthy and strong … swimming and stuff, so his cardio is probably good.”
“Maybe [he wants to be smaller] for the speed. He was putting on size to maybe get more power but then I don’t know if the power was effective, so he might as well just be fast.”
Much has been made of Usyk’s size ahead of the potential bout with Tyson Fury – a bonafide super heavyweight at six foot nine inches and around 270lb.
Fury is adamant that he’ll simply be too big, and when he catches the smaller man – which he’s confident he will – it won’t last long. Usyk is undeterred, having faced similar predictions in his two bouts against Anthony Joshua, both of which he won.
As fans await an announcement, Joyce is expected to stay active with an intriguing fight with Zhilei Zhang – and ‘Big Bang’ certainly can boast thudding power.