2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medallist and Commonwealth champion Joe Joyce has been recently elevated to #5 in the World Boxing Association’s heavyweight rankings following his recent first round knockout victory over Joe Hanks last December at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. Joe Joyce will defend his Commonwealth title in the biggest test of his unbeaten career when he takes a gigantic leap up to confront the Former WBC World Champion Bermane Stiverne on Saturday February 23 at The O2. Tickets are available from www.AXS.com and Inner Ringside/VIP Hospitality from www.sportandmusic.co.uk. This fight will be shown exclusively on ITV Box Office and for further information and updates, please go to www.itvboxoffice.com.
How has your life changed since you made such a big statement during your last fight in LA?
My life has been pretty much the same since my last fight in LA, however a lot more people are taking notice of my progression through the ranks; being on the Fury Vs Wilder undercard meant that many UK fans and people around the world got to witness my glorious left hook knockout. I’m back up in Big Bear training again for another fight, this time at the O2 in London on February 23.
You've been away from the UK and training in the USA for some time now; what do you miss the most about home?
The things I miss most about home in the UK as I’ve been training in the US are mainly the time difference when staying in contact with my family and friends. I have a group of friends I normally play games with and chat to online, but being on the other side of the pond the time zone is so different. I enjoy being away training; I make going back even more quality time when I go back.
Your degree in fine art crushes any misconceptions about boxers being unable to be expressive and creative. Do you think artists and athletes are really all that different?
I think having a fine art degree does crush misconceptions about boxers being unable to be expressive and creative. I have a unique and well-rounded quality. I feel that athletes and artist are completely different characters as I have seen first-hand at university. Artist seem to be less concerned with physical appearance i.e. gym body conscious, and tend to be more thoughtful in a more world view artistic standpoint and challenge ideas by portraying themselves in the work. Whereas athletes have to be concerned with maximising their physical condition and perfecting their skills to compete and win. The similarities however are both continually improving their skills with perfect practice.
You started in athletics, had a rugby career and started boxing at 22. How did you fall in love with boxing?
I started my journey in rugby, swimming and martial arts from a young age being inclined in that area; at age 22 I thought I would try out boxing at Earlsfield ABC after being on summer holidays at uni. My drive was to get to the Olympics in athletics. I was struggling and straining to get myself to that level and found I wasn’t getting anywhere and my interest wasn’t there, so when I started boxing I found my place. I was enjoying what I was doing and each fight that I won was moving me closer to my goal.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day starts early morning. I get to the gym at 7am and I either cycle on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday up and down mountain hills which depends on if it snows; if it snows I have to run. The second session is a boxing session where I do strength and conditioning, boxing training such as shadow boxing, skipping and sparring.
What tools do you use to stay motivated during a fight?
The tools I use to stay motivated in a fight are focus, determination and my will to win!
You have a big year ahead and you've been training very hard, but is there any part of what you do as a boxer that you don't like?
Having a big year ahead and training being very hard, there isn’t anything I hate, just sometimes I really don’t feel up for training sometimes, but I know if I want to be successful in what I’m doing I better do it as I only have a short window to be great!
Finally, what has been your proudest moment in your career?
My proudest moment so far is bitter sweet; it is still winning the Olympic silver medal for my country, representing a nation! Its just a shame... that gold medal was mine, but I wasn’t given it!
Joe Joyce faces Bermane Stiverne at the O2 on February 23. You can watch the fight on ITV Box Office. Tickets available from AXS and Inner Ringside/VIP Hospitality from sportandmusic.co.uk.