Joe Joyce warns Oleksandr Usyk to forget about his previous fight: 'I still have some gears to go through!'
Following his dominant victory over Joseph Parker, Joe Joyce has emerged as the leading contender to face unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Joyce knocked Parker out with a vicious left hook after subjecting him to an 11-round onslaught on Saturday.
Joyce won an interim title from the WBO as a result of that victory, and he should be able to press for a mandatory shot at Usyk, who holds their full title as well as the IBF and WBA titles.
"If Usyk does not want to fight me, he must vacate the belt, and I will be elevated to full champion, from which I will be able to defend the belt," Joyce told Sky Sports News.
"I think I'd start to get to him if I can keep the pressure up," Joyce warned, "he's a very skilled fighter, but at this level it's going to be tough from here on out."
They've already crossed paths. They boxed each other as amateurs in the World Series of Boxing, a pro-style league, in 2013. Joyce lost on points at the time, but promises that a rematch a decade later will be a very different story.
"This time, I'd be better prepared and would have a dedicated training camp for him. It's been more than a dozen rounds with smaller gloves, and I've come a long way since then. It had been a long time, "He stated.
"It takes ten years to achieve athletic excellence. I've surpassed that and am still learning, so a 12-round fight would be fantastic."
Joyce has now established himself as a serious player in the weight class. "That was the next step into the elite category. [Parker] is a top fighter and former world champion, so this was a huge win for me. I think I did well, and the future looks promising; I'm looking forward to the next couple of fights "Joyce stated.
"I give Joseph Parker a lot of credit; he's a tough guy." I was hitting him with everything I had, but he was still coming back with three or four punches in between, so I had to work extra hard to win.
"I didn't have to fight Joseph Parker, but it pushed me up a level."
While Joyce expects Usyk to be his next opponent, he can now consider all of the big names, including Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Dillian Whyte.
"I just want to be secure as world champion and heavyweight champion so that I can go for more belts or fight in bigger fights," he said.
Fury and Joshua both need "less talk, more action." "All they have to do is hurry up and put it on," he said. "Enough of them; I'll fight whoever, anyone in the top five, and I'm ready and willing to face the most difficult test."
Joyce would happily box Fury if he were to face Mahmoud Charr.
"So why not? That's a massive fight, a massive stadium fight on British soil or perhaps in Saudi Arabia - I'm not sure, but that's how it seems to be going these days as money talks. It's both a business and a form of entertainment "He stated.
"[Dillian Whyte] would be a fantastic opponent. It could turn into a slugfest. I could fight him in a variety of ways.
"I've always desired to be in this position, and now I am. I still don't feel like I've arrived where I want to be. I believe I still have a few more levels and gears to go through.
"I'm just glad I'm finally getting the recognition I deserve."