Former WBC cruiserweight champion, Tony Bellew has shared his concern that the chin of Joe Joyce may be beginning to deteriorate, following the 37-year-old’s first career defeat to Zhilei Zhang.
Joyce was on the wrong side of one of the upsets of the year thus far, as Zhang claimed a dominant TKO victory and Joyce’s WBO interim title after the referee waived the bout off in the sixth round.
For the first time since turning professional, Joyce was visibly hurt and was wobbled after a series of straight left-hands in the second round. For someone who prides himself on having a granite chin, the moment came a shock to many, considering the durability that Joyce showed against Joseph Parker in his last outing.
On social media, Bellew admitted that father time and the damaging yet inconsequential punishment of previous fights may be beginning to have an effect on ‘The Juggernaut’.
I’ve said this for the last how many years mate.. I labelled him human terminator in the amateurs! I’ve not seen a chin like his since Oliver McCall! However last night was the first time I’ve seen him genuinely hurt off head shots! I think it might be catching up with him now
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) April 16, 2023
“I’ve said this for the last how many years mate. I labelled him human terminator in the amateurs! I’ve not seen a chin like his since Oliver McCall! However last night was the first time I’ve seen him genuinely hurt off head shots! I think it might be catching up with him now.”
Bellew went on to say that once Joyce’s resilience goes the 37 year-old is an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
“That’s down to his greatest asset mate which has always been his resilience.. once that goes he’s an accident waiting to happen! He didn’t look himself at all last night though.”
Joyce’s loss has not only cost him the WBO interim title and the position as a mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk, but also opportunities for a big domestic clash, with pre-fight talk of a summer fight against Dillian Whyte or even Anthony Joshua now seemingly dead.