Warren: Joyce will topple Usyk

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren believes Joe Joyce can shake up the heavyweight title picture and topple old rival Oleksandr Usyk in their proposed WBO ‘Interim’ bout.

Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) outpointed Joyce in a semi-pro World Series of Boxing (WSB) encounter back in March 2013 at Bethnal Green before turning over and unifying the cruiserweight division in the professional ranks.

The Ukrainian is now the WBO’s No.1 heavyweight contender and, as part of a provisional agreement to allow a unification clash between rival champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua to take place, is on course to face Joyce for the Puerto Rican sanctioning body’s ‘Interim’ belt.

Londoner Joyce shocked rising Queensberry Promotions star Daniel Dubois in 10 rounds last November and will fancy his chances, perhaps, after Usyk’s pedestrian points win over Dereck Chisora one month earlier.

Warren certainly believes Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) is primed for the upset. “Joe Joyce is set for a huge 2021 after his massive win over Daniel Dubois last year. The Rio Olympic silver medallist is now the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight king. But we are mapping out his path to becoming a world champion now,” wrote the promoter in his column in The Daily Star.

“Talks are ongoing with Oleksandr Usyk’s team about a showdown between those two around April time. We want it to be for the WBO Interim belt with Usyk the mandatory for the full title. Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are set to face each other at some point this year for all four major world belts. But the winner of Joyce and Usyk will be ready for their shot once those two big men have settled it all.

“When we signed Joyce we said we could bring him a world title. And I really believe that. We know we put him up against rising star Dubois but that proves how we are happy to pit out prospects against each other. The winner was always going to get on the fast track to a world title and it was Joyce who deservedly came out on top.

“Joyce is an Olympic silver medallist so his pedigree is there to see and he has shared a ring with Usyk before in the World Series of Boxing – an amateur/pro hybrid. That night the Ukrainian came out on top but I believe it will be different this time. Let’s hope we can get the fight on.”