Perfect scenario is I fight Usyk, then Fury – Joe Joyce
The Ring: It’s not often a fighter has a win that earns them so much credit universally, but your victory over Joseph Parker has everybody talking.
JJ: I guess, I’m beginning to realise that now.
TR: Why do you think all the attention has come now?
JJ: Because it’s at that elite level and it was a dominant performance with a great fighter in Joseph Parker, an ex-WBO champion so I guess that’s sinking in how much people thought of it. It was a great fight. People enjoyed it.
TR: In the aftermath of the Daniel Dubois fight, people were talking about him even though you won. Now everyone is talking about you…
JJ: Not entirely, because people are still talking about a fight between Fury and AJ.
TR: But you’ve now put yourself in that conversation, people want to see you against Fury and against AJ.
JJ: Well, that’s good, isn’t it? I’m happy about that. I always knew that I would get there eventually and here I am. Just moments away from being world champion and all that comes with it.
TR: How hard was the Parker fight?
JJ: It was definitely a hard fight. I’m glad I managed to stop him in the end because he’s very strong, durable and tough in there and I didn’t think he was going [to be stopped]. I thought he was going 12 rounds. I hit him with everything, hard shots, uppercuts, hooks, you name it… and he was still coming forward with bursts of two-three shots, stepping back out of range… But I got him out of there in the end, which I was happy about. And it was a really good knockout.
TR: We see these huge shots cannoning off your head. Do they hurt?
JJ: Err, obviously I train to take these shots and yeah, it does hurt, especially when the adrenaline’s worn off and I realise I’ve got loads of lumps and bumps on my head, but probably not quite as bad as Parker.
TR: So during the fight, there was no sign he was weakening and you were going to be able to take him out with one shot?
JJ: Exactly. I thew everything I’ve got to get him out and he wasn’t going so I thought it was going 12 and I’d have to pace myself. And that’s when I think I dummied the right and threw the left and that took him out.
TR: How did you build this incredible engine everyone talks about?
JJ: It’s all the years in sport and all the training I’ve done in my life has prepared me, genetics…
TR: What do you want next?
JJ: Perfect scenario is I’d fight Usyk, then I’d fight Fury and then I’d defend the belts against Joshua, if he deserves a shot!
TR: People are salivating over the idea of you against Wilder?
JJ: Yes, that’s a good fight. That’s a risky fight. He’s a devastating finisher and he’s doing some good work with Malik Scott, who I’m very familiar with, and he’s training in the UFC facility and I saw him there a couple of times. He’s nice, he’s respectful, he’s cool. But I know that once you get in the ring, he’s a sniper with a hell of a scope.
TR: You fought Usyk in the amateurs, in the WSB, how does a fight with him go now all these years on?
JJ: He’s obviously always tricky customer but I think over 12 rounds I would do a better job than Joshua did.
TR: There are people saying if the December 3 Fury-Joshua fight doesn’t happen, they should give you a call… Would you take that fight with Fury on December 3?
JJ: It might be a bit too soon for my calendar, but money talks and if he’s offering close to a billion we can talk about it!
TR: But you and Fury have got on well over the years, you’ve sparred him and so forth.
JJ: Yeah, we’ve shared training camps, had sparring, and plenty of bants.
TR: Who is the best heavyweight in the world today?
JJ: Probably Fury, closely followed by Usyk…
TR: Closely followed by you?
JJ: Then closely followed by me.
TR: If Joshua isn’t going to fight Fury, could you see you fighting him down the line?
JJ: Yeah, possibly. He’s still a big draw and people fantasise over these fights, that’s why people want to see Fury-AJ, it’s been talked about for a long time. But now people are lining me up with these top guys, it’s like Fantasy Football, to see how I’d do against all these top guys. But style makes fights, and it’s characters going at each other.
TR: The lightweights are a hot division but the heavyweights are now not far behind as one of the most appealing divisions today.
JJ: Yes, that’s right.
TR: In closing, a lot of people are praising you for your chin and toughness, do you have any concerns about your long-term health through boxing?
JJ: I’ve grown up in contact sports. I don’t see an issue. I’m pretty fresh still. I haven’t been boxing all my life, so I’m in good health. I don’t feel too old so I think I can carry on for a couple of years and leave a legacy.