Joe Joyce (14-0, 13 KOs) ended his 12-month absence from the ring with a fourth-round win over the well-seasoned Christian Hammer (27-10, 17 KOs).
‘The Juggernaut’ once again proved that his pressure and relentlessness are two attributes that are certainly a nightmare at this level for someone like Hammer. The question is will they be in the future for the main players at heavyweight?
Hammer made a good start to the fight partly thanks to Joyce’s manly art of no defence. His chin absorbed plenty of right hands and forced the German to empty his tank early.
From the first round Joyce targeted the body of the 34-year-old and was clearly a tactic of his and trainer Ismael Salas Joyce started the second round in positive fashion but still allowed himself to be chinned but onward the Brit marched.
Hammer started the third with his guard high, a sign that he may now have to defend for a period. Joyce let a right hand go which unsettled his opponent but was enjoyed by the crowd who maybe sensed the away fighter had given everything he could. A Joyce uppercut forced Hammer to hold on before a glancing blow round the back of the head gave the Brit his first knockdown of the fight.
However, the bell saved Hammer who made it back to his stool.
Thirty seconds into the fourth and Hammer was dropped again. The body shots had paid off from the 36-year-old and were beginning to do the damage that had been set up in the opening stanza.
Hammer then threw a lottery ticket right hand, but Joyce shrugged it off and began his Terminator impression. The third knockdown came when Hammer, simply buckled under the pressure before a thudding left to the mid-section put an end to the underdog’s hopes. Referee Victor Loughlin had seen enough and saved the veteran from any more needless punishment.
Watch the final round courtesy of BT Sport on Twitter:
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) July 2, 2022
Speaking to BT Sports Jo Ankier afterwards Joyce credited Hammer’s performance.
“He was game, and he hit me with some shots early on. I had to work him out and start landing my shots. He’s a tough guy because I hit him with some big ones so credit to him for coming out here.”
“I enjoyed it so much. It’s good to be back again.”
The constant concern for pundits and fans is that Joyce gets hit too much no matter who he fights.
Joyce offered up his own analogy as to why that happens.
“It’s kind of like when you go in the rain. You have an umbrella but if you don’t you probably get wet a little bit. That’s what happens early on until I start getting my defences up and footwork going, head movement. Especially because I haven’t fought for so long, I had to warm into the fight a little bit.”
Joyce will now sit back and take in the upcoming August 20 rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua knowing that his current ranking gives him a great opportunity of facing the winner.
“I’m ready for the world stage,” he said. “I’m fit, I’ve got an engine, a chin, big heart and big cajones. I’m ready for all comers.”
“I’m looking to fight the winner of possibly AJ-Usyk or maybe Tyson Fury if he comes out. I’m at that level. It’s a shame [Joseph] Parker couldn’t make it tonight but let’s see what happens.”
Joyce’s promoter Frank Warren revealed that ‘The Juggernaut’ will be back out in a few months’ time.
“He’s going to fight on September 24, and we’ll sit down and talk about opponents. He’s got the cobwebs out of his system. The other thing that really for me was a worry [was] he had broken his wrist and it was a proper snap, so there’s no problem with it, the power is there. He got caught himself a few times. I’m glad he found his umbrella at the end!”
“Once the rematch between AJ and Usyk happens then it’s gonna shake out.”
“One way or another it’ll all shake out. Joe Joyce is very much in the mix, he’s the mandatory challenger and he showed tonight why he’s the mandatory challenger.”