Joe Joyce Gets His Message Across With KO Win Over Joseph Parker

If I were to show pictures of Joe Joyce to a casual boxing fan who isn’t familiar with him, they might think he’s nothing special. Of course, that’s assuming you show them clips of him before he breaks his opponents on the count of ten. Prior to that, Joyce can seem quite modest in the ring as he carries himself outside of it. Compared to flashier, more slick heavyweights, he can come across as a slow, heavy worker. He then looks at the punch stats at the end of a given round and the condition of his opponent’s face caused by those numbers and realizes there was much more at stake than he jumped off the screen.

Joyce may even surprise himself in the same way. On Saturday, he scored the biggest and most impressive win of his career in an 11th-round knockout of Joseph Parker. In a post-fight interview for her promoter Queensberry Promotions’ YouTube channel after the fight, Joyce was typically humble. Joyce can be a tricky subject for interviewers used to a particular throw and catch with fighters. Ask him a question about how he felt about his performance, and instead of launching into bombast and qualifying his performance, something to be drawn for a headline, he’ll say “he really enjoyed that!”, choosing to answer subject: actually , responding that he had fun, instead of playing at being an expert or a publicist.

In this case, he was asked about the fight’s ending sequence, a long-range left hook that dropped Parker and nearly sent him cascading over the bottom rope. He had to tell Joyce that it was a left hook that did the trick, the 844 punches he threw in less than 11 rounds was perhaps mixed up in his mind.

“Oh, sick,” he said. “Yeah, I’ll have to watch it again.”

Shortly after, someone with a cell phone from the BT Sport social team came up with footage of the knockout at hand.

“Oh, wow! I forgot about that,” Joyce said with a smile before pausing to watch it a second time. “Oh, I’m happy with that. That’s one for the featured reel.”

Although Joyce’s performance was eye-opening for him in the film, it probably was for a section of the audience that hadn’t yet been completely sold on The Juggernaut. Those viewers also had a good justification for the questions they had about him. Joyce is a pressure fighter, a volume puncher, and in the spirit of many fighters in those categories, she is a fighter who invites contact. At the rate Joyce insists, sometimes that means getting hit hard often. Against lesser opposition, many heavyweights over the years have bucked the shots and prevailed because they are the freshest, most prepared fighters. Whether Joyce could do that against a top heavyweight was a fair question to ask.

Against Parker, a former champion and consensus Top-5 or 6 heavyweight in the world before the fight, Joyce was not only able to employ all the same tactics he had used in the past, get away with the same shortcomings as before , but it increases the physicality even more. A moment after the third round was emblematic of how the fight went. Parker hit Joyce with at least four flush right hands in the round, the most memorable shots of the round. But as Joyce calmly walked back to his stool, Parker sat up relieved, now with a trickle of blood coming from his nose.

According to CompuBox, over the course of the fight, Joyce averaged more than 81 punches per round. Starting in the sixth round he averaged 95 punches per round. The numbers also illustrate the difference between the Joyce and the standard indiscriminate volume pickguard we’re used to seeing. More than 42 percent of Joyce’s power shots landed, 202 of them in total, proof that Joyce was throwing not just nonstop, but with precision. Joyce doesn’t just laugh and pray, she’s like a woodcutter, making steady, precise cuts until her opponent is materially compromised.

Perhaps just as remarkable was the fact that Joyce’s chin was supporting Parker’s heavy leather. Parker landed 124 power shots, 66 of them to the head, and none seemed to hit Joyce at all.

“I mean, I always take shots, but I guess it’s exciting to watch,” Joyce said in her post-fight interview with Queensberry.

Leading up to this fight, Joyce’s toughest tests were against Daniel Dubois and Carlos Takam, both impressive victories in the context of the era in which they occurred. However, it remained to be seen how a more fluid operator like Parker, one who can hit and neutralize an opponent, would hold up against Joyce.

Even Parker himself was somewhat astonished at the lack of effect his offensive work had on this night and his inability to walk away from Joyce.

“At this stage of my career, Joe was the toughest challenge. As you saw tonight, the pressure he put on, every time I hit him, he came back,” Parker said at the post-fight news conference.

“We knew exactly what he was going to do, but,” Parker paused to pantomime trying to dodge punches. “Everything didn’t work out.”

With a win over Parker, Joyce likely ranks behind only Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury in terms of the consensus heavyweight rankings. An early indicator of the temperature of the online discussion surrounding Joyce against any of those potential opponents has shown a new level of confidence in his chances against them.

The message was delivered on Saturday, though it was not one he cared to seriously verbalize. Asked by the Queensberry Promotions interviewee to verbalize the message he sent to the heavyweight division with his performance, he awkwardly offered his best to talk trash.

“Yeah, I’m here. The Juggernaut is here…baby,” he said, cringing at the inclusion of “baby.”

He may offer the bare minimum on the mic, but we now know for a fact that he will demand the most from any heavyweight in the world.

Corey Erdman is a boxing writer and commentator based in Toronto, ON, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman

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