Heavyweight Joe Joyce stretched his unbeaten record to 13 wins, 12 by knockout, after stopping Carlos Takam inside six rounds at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
It wasn’t vintage Joyce, with the Brit absorbing a fair some big hits from the Cameroon-born Frenchman and showing a few lapses in his defensive display. But ‘the Juggernaut’ showed his well-renowned durability and ended the bout after following up a fierce counter with an all out assault. The referee stepped in to call an end to the fight, although some, including Takam, are arguing that it came too soon.
It was a solid win over a contender who’s known for being made of stern stuff. Let’s not forget that three years ago, Takam gave Anthony Joshua absolute fits in Cardiff, despite having only had less than two weeks notice for the fight. There’s no doubt that Joyce is closing in on the world level heavyweights.
So who’s next? We take a look at some of the men that could face Joyce in the ring next.
Anthony Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk
Let’s start with the names Joyce really wants. With last night’s win, the Londoner preserved his status as the WBO’s mandatory challenger.
Oleksandr Usyk has already been ordered by the sanctioning body to fight WBO belt holder Anthony Joshua, which has been confirmed to go ahead on September 25th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Joyce still expressed his desire to fight the winner.
“What I want is AJ or Usyk!,” he told BT Sport after his triumph.
"I don't need any more tests.
"I've started at the deep end and I've carried on at a steady trajectory."
With the disastrous collapse of the heavyweight unification battle between AJ and Tyson Fury, and the chances of those two maybe trying to face each other once again looking likely towards the end of the year or in early 2022 (if they win their respective fights against Usyk and Deontay Wilder of course), it seems unlikely that Joyce will get his wish so soon.
This one has potential to be a fun scrap. WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte is a name that’s been thrown into the conversation for Joyce’s next opponent and given his famously long wait for a crack at the world title, which will likely extend into next year at least, could ‘the Body Snatcher’ be persuaded to jump into a lucrative showdown with his compatriot?
The battle of the chins. These two are well known for both being tough as old boots when it comes to absorbing punishment and both are big enough names that the fight would generate some decent interest.
Former world champion Parker will have no issues making a trip to the UK for the fight and it would be an excellent name on Joyce’s CV should he emerge victorious.
The veteran Cuban southpaw is a tough customer for any heavyweight out there, even at 42, and he is another name that has been mooted in the wake of Joyce’s win, including from the Briton’s manager, Sam Jones, who said ‘no problem’ when questioned over the fight on Twitter.
While a tough fight on paper, it’s not the most glamorous bout out there (although it might be the most likely to happen) and given the ‘banana skin’ tag Ortiz holds, it’s probably not worth the risk.