Re-Joyce, Joe! You can still turn that silver thread to gold

posted on: 31/08/2016

ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 31.8.16

By Alan Hubbard

Joe Joyce

Most British fans will argue that Joe Joyce was robbed in Rio, not only of the Olympic title, but the fortune that would come his way as champion.

But GB’s super-heavyweight star can still cash in on the silver thread that he weaved among the shoal of Olympic golds.

After all, Amir Khan made a mint out of silver. So can Big Joe.

However, he needs to move quickly with his 31st birthday less than three weeks away. Ok, that’s no great age for a heavyweight these days, but it is still a tad late for turning pro.

Yet, there is still gold in them that heavyweight hills if you are as talented as the 6ft 6” 17st Londoner. He will definitely turn pro but the question is when and with whom?

It may be something of a dilemma for him. The buzz is that may link up with Barry McGuigan’s lad Shane as his trainer. This might make sense geographically as McGuigan’s gym in Battersea, South London, is about a 15 minute drive from Big Joe’s home in Putney, where he lives with his mum, the marvelously named Marvel.

It is also in a chic area close to an art gallery, which might appeal to Joyce, who has a degree in fine arts and is adept at daubing on the canvas as he is with his own paintbrush left in the ring. Yet surely young McGuigan already has his hands full training David Haye, George Groves, Carl Frampton and Josh Taylor among others.

There are other handy trainers who could nurture him equally well, not least Bromley’s Alan Smith, who coaches Joyce’s friend Bradley Skeete, who was a one-time amateur club mate at Earlsfield.

Of course, Anthony Joshua is also a big pal and there is an obvious temptation to follow him into the Matchroom camp, but Joyce might wonder whether he would always be playing second fiddle to the new IBF champion who was once his regular amateur spar-mate in the GB Sheffield set-up.

Whereas with another top promotional outfit, say Frank Warren’s Queensberry, he would get the big star build-up.

With budget-conscious Sky now tightening their boxing belt having splurged out apparently more than they could afford on their football deal, the burgeoning BoxNation Channel of Champions seems a more attractive TV outlet to build the inevitable rivalry between Joyce and Sky’s prize protégé Joshua, which could culminate in an intriguing all-British showdown.

I understand there have already been approaches from the US and Europe and it is easy to see why the Americans might want him. The state of heavyweight boxing there is poorer than it has been for many years, with Tyrell Biggs their last Olympic champion 32 yars ago, while their last Olympic super heavyweight medalist was the current WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who was bracketed with Britain’s David Price as a bronze medalist in Beijing in 2008.

The last US men’s champion at any weight was middleweight Andre Ward at Athens 2004.

When 19-year-old bantamweight Shakur Stevenson lost in the Rio final on a split decision to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez his silver was the best US Olympic boxing performance since Ward’s.

Currently, their most successful Olympian is a woman, the Michigan middleweight Clarissa Shields, who has won successive golds in London and now Rio.

US promoters like big Bob Arum, Al Haymon. Lou Di Bella and Oscar der la Hoya’s Golden Boy could build Joyce into a name fighter over there, but I believe he would be far better off at home creating a fan base with his charismatic, media-savvy persona.

Whatever, Joyce has much to mull over before that 31st birthday on September 19. But, with a bit of luck, some intelligent matchmaking and shrewd judgement on the part of a new promoter and trainer, we could see him challenging for a world title by the time he is 33.

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Hammered by ‘Enry

With all the talk of accolades and gongs coming the way of GB’s Olympians, including knighthoods and damehoods, it is worth recalling that there has only ever been one Knight of the square ring.

Henry Cooper

It is five years since Sir Henry Cooper passed away and even now his name remains bracketed with the left hook that put the then Cassius Clay on the seat of his pants in 1963. But Our ‘Enry wasn’t just a lethal counter puncher in the ring. He could be pretty sharp with the verbals too.

When debating on BBC radio with the noted abolitionist and Labour MP Dr Edith Summerskill whether boxing should be banned she demanded of him: “Mr Cooper, have you looked in the mirror today and seen the state of your nose?”.

Cooper responded: “Yes madam, but boxing is my excuse – what’s yours?”

I still consider that one of the best knock-out blows he ever delivered.

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FIGHTING TALK

Your son has been offered the fight with me twice and considering he’s not even European champion, I reckon £800,000 and £900,000 were two very good offers for very good money. He’s only British champion. Other people would jump at the chance to earn that sort of that money and he turned it down twice – let alone the Gennady Golovkin fight, where he probably would have earned a million quid. “Stop talking s*** to get your son talked about.

Billy Joe Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders puts Chris Eubank jnr in his place without trading a punch.

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“I’m now officially the most accomplished amateur boxer Great Britain has ever had. I can’t believe it.

With typical exuberance Nicola Adams celebrates becoming the first British boxer to win back-to-back Olympic titles in almost a century.

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I know people use the word hungry a lot, but I am not hungry, I am starving!

Frank Warren’s exciting new signing, unbeaten super-middleweight Lerrone Richards, can’t wait to make his debut under the Queensberry banner at the Hilton Hotel, Mayfair on a dinner show to raise funds for the music charity Nordoff Robins on October 24.

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Social media wasn’t around when I boxed. You knew an opponent’s name and his record, that was all. Now they look on social media and check what socks or underpants an opponent’s wearing. Fighters are more mollycoddled now.

Retired British super-featherweight champion Carl Greaves, now 40, and busy manager, trainer and promoter, reflects on boxing’s low-tech era.

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