Once foes in the amateur ranks, Joe Joyce is now first in line for a shot at Oleksandr Usyk’s WBO heavyweight title.
The belts, though, are all currently tied up in negotiations for Usyk to face Tyson Fury, thus crowning an undisputed champion in the division for the first time since Lennox Lewis. Joyce has no other choice but to bide his time.
That hasn’t stopped ‘The Juggernaut’ from planting the seed. With their names linked for a heavyweight clash ever since Usyk’s move up to heavyweight, Joyce told iD Boxing that he reached out to the Ukrainian early to see if the talk might turn into a fight.
Usyk, who had a bout lined up with Anthony Joshua for the unified titles, replied with one word that hints that he would entertain a fight when the time is right.
“I’ve messaged him on Instagram – this was before the Joshua fight and when our names were being lined up – and he was like, ‘patience, patience.'”
“Obviously he got the Joshua fight and beat him twice. But, yeah, it’s a fight I’d like to have.”
Joyce is one of a few heavyweights who will be demanding a shot at the belts when all is said and done with the undisputed scrap. That could of course be against Fury rather than Usyk.
The contract details for the legacy fight will play a big part in forming the future of the division.
If, for example, there’s a rematch clause included, the belts may fragment and become vacant – leaving the likes of Joyce fighting another ranked contender for the honours of becoming heavyweight champion.
All should become clear soon in a division that’s reaching excitement levels it hasn’t seen for years, and a Joyce-Usyk reunion after their amateur days – in which the Ukrainian emerged a clear points winner – would be a treat for fans.