Joe Joyce edged closer to a future shot at a world heavyweight title as he stopped veteran contender Carlos Takam in six rounds at the SSE Arena, Wembley, on Saturday night.
It was a solid test for the 35-year-old ‘Juggernaut’ who continues to ride the wave of momentum he earned by stopping domestic rival Daniel Dubois last November. Joyce retained his WBC Silver, Commonwealth and WBO International titles with his latest win.
Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs) relentlessly pressed forward behind the jab from the outset, as Takam launched looping shots his way. The Londoner started to get his timing together in the second, not allowing Takam a second to breathe, although the Cameroonian landed plenty of his own leather to give Joyce plenty to think about as he headed back to his corner. It was clear that Takam was beginning to fancy the job, as he kept testing Joyce’s chin with the fight really warming up after three rounds.
Takam (39-6-1, 28 KOs) was knocked on his heels at the end of the third, however he raced out of the blocks in the fourth as Joyce started to work the body more. Joyce was placing total faith in his own resilience and the Brit appeared to be taking full control in the fifth as Takam, although landing, didn’t appear to have much left in the tank.
A left hook from Joyce buckled Takam’s legs at the start of the sixth and the Putney man unloaded. Takam staggered on, trying to defend himself, as Joyce rampaged forward. There was no escape for Takam as he rocked backwards causing referee Steve Gray to jump in and stop the fight, much to Takam’s chagrin.
For Joyce, it was another major test passed as he continues to close in on a future WBO title shot, currently rated No.2 by that organisation. With wins over respected fighters like Takam, he is doing more than enough to prove his credentials. The queue of fighters before that shot is getting shorter and Joyce is certainly forcing his way to the front of that queue.
Ekow Essuman picked up a big domestic win and can now call himself the British and Commonwealth welterweight champion, as he stopped title holder Chris Jenkins in the eighth round. Essuman (15-0, 6 KOs) lived up to his moniker of ‘The Engine’ as he gradually took over the contest against the veteran Welshman, who was stepping between the ropes for the first time since 2019.
The fight started slowly as Essuman took his time to get to grips with the more seasoned Jenkins (22-4-3, 8 KOs). However, Essuman started to find the gaps and landed with more regularity whilst long-time champion Jenkins, who started well, seemed to wilt away.
Essuman sensed his opportunity in the eighth and Jenkins appeared out on his feet. The Nottingham man wasted no time pouncing and referee Ian John-Lewis jumped in to halt the contest. Jenkins, as ever, was a class act following the conclusion, paying his dues to Essuman in the ring. It will now be full steam ahead for ‘The Engine’.
Talented 154-pounder Hamzah Sheeraz added to his already glowing reputation as he stopped Ezequiel Gurria in the fifth round. The 22-year-old Sheeraz is being billed as a future star and will no doubt move further up the rankings with the WBO, whose European super-welterweight belt he defended. Sheeraz (13-0, 9 KOs) flashed out a quality jab from the opening bell forcing Gurria into his shell very early.
The Ilford star cut an imposing figure as he pressed forwards to his Spanish opponent, who was looking increasingly uncomfortable. Sheeraz took his time before unleashing a trio of body shots that put Gurria down in the fifth. After a left uppercut dropped the visitor a second time in the round, referee Marcus McDonnell waved it off.
In a 122lbs clash that failed to catch fire, Chris Bourke maintained his unbeaten record with a unanimous decision over James Beech Jr. Bourke (10-0, 6 KOs) was in his comfort zone, but very rarely did he seem to put his foot down and push for the stoppage. Beech (12-2, 2 KOs) was a step up for Bourke on paper but barely did enough to take a round. The judges had a straightforward time awarding it to Bourke by 100-90, 99-92 and 99-91 on the cards, as the South Londoner also retained his WBC International super-bantamweight strap.
Following a controversial win over Kamil Sokolowski last time out, David Adeleye will have been grateful to be leaving the venue controversy free. The former ABA heavyweight champion stopped Mladen Manev in the fourth round with a nasty body shot after the Bulgarian had already taken a tumble to the canvas. Adeleye is now 7-0 (6 KOs) and the jury is still deliberating on his credentials. They may not take much longer as his next test, possibly a Sokolowski rematch, awaits.
One man who certainly doesn’t court controversy is Sam Noakes. Noakes returned to action following a stoppage win two weeks ago and became the first man to stop durable campaigner Naeem Ali. Ali, a short-notice opponent, withdrew after the second round with a nose injury as Noakes made it seven straight stoppage wins since turning pro. Lightweight Noakes is being pushed as a prospect to watch on UK shores, so we’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of him.
Main image: Queensberry Promotions.